University of Delaware - College of Engineering
Nanofabrication Facility


October 16, 2008

Nanophotonics Team Wins MURI for Silicon Laser Development

by Professor Prather, Head of the Nanophotonics Research Group

The Nano-Photonics Group recently won an AFOSR Si Laser MURI project, which is dedicated to the development of an electrically pumped CMOS compatible Si based laser, operating near 1.5μm. Their approach is based quantum confinement, wherein the efficiency of Si light emission is significantly enhanced on the nanoscale where quantum confinement effects mitigate the limitations of silicon's indirect bandgap. To take advantage of this, the University of Delaware researchers, teamed with researchers from MIT, Caltech, Cornell, and Standford, are developing electrically pumped Si nanocrystal light sources. The team intends to integrate these light sources with low-loss Er doped microcavities. Monolithic integration of these devices could provide an on chip light source capable of driving numerous photonic applications. In additional to material and processing optimization, the team is developing a modeling toolkit to aid in the design of light emitting devices. The modeling scheme couples a semi-classical rate equation formalism, representing the gain materials' emission behavior, with conventional electromagnetic FDTD. This scheme provides a means for the design and optimization of devices relying on the unique emission characteristics of Si nanocrystals, critical to the realization of an integrated two-stage laser.




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