IBS scientists develop new optical circuit components to control light

The computers of the future could work nearly at the speed of light. Nanophotonics, the study of the behavior of light at the nanometer scale, could bring the speed of the current technology into a totally different level. The Center for Integrated Nanostructure Physics (CINAP) at the Institute for Basic Science (IBS) has created three key components of an optical circuit that works with light. These devices combine the benefits of electronics and photonics on the same platform.

While researchers are slowly approaching the end point of Moore’s Law, a state where the dimension of transistors cannot be shrunk much further; the future of big data processing demands high performance computers with higher speed. Researchers believe that if they develop computers that process information through light, rather than electrons, computers will be able to work much faster.

Circuit IBS Yole

However, the wavelength of light is larger compared to the diameter of the silicon fiber at nanometer dimensions and due to this, some light can be lost. A solution that can be derived from surface plasmons could help to control the propagation of light in matter.

These are electromagnetic waves that propagate along the surface of some conductive materials such as gold, silver, copper and aluminum. Optical information can be transmitted almost at the speed of light and in extremely small level using surface plasmons.

IBS researchers used surface plasmons in silver nanowires and 2D semiconductors such as molybdenum disulphide (MoS2) to develop three key components for optical communication: optical multiplexers, optical signal detectors, and optical transistors.