Team manipulates soliton photonic waves on a silicon chip

July 04, 2019 //By Jean-Pierre Joosting
Team manipulates soliton photonic waves on a silicon chip
A collaboration between the University of Sydney Nano Institute and Singapore University of Technology and Design has for the first time manipulated a light wave, or photonic information, on a silicon chip that retains its overall 'shape'.

A tsunami holds its wave shape over very long distances across the ocean, retaining its power and 'information' far from its source. In communications science, retaining information in an optic fibre that spans continents is vital. Ideally, this requires the manipulation of light in silicon chips at the source and reception end of the fibre without altering the wave shape of the photonic packet of information. Doing so has eluded scientists until now.

Such waves – whether a tsunami or a photonic packet of information – are known as 'solitons'. The Sydney-Singapore team has for the first time observed 'soliton' dynamics on an ultra-silicon-rich nitride (USRN) device fabricated in Singapore using state-of-the-art optical characterisation tools at Sydney Nano.

Ezgi Sahin, a PhD student at SUTD conducted the experiments with Dr Andrea Blanco Redondo at the University of Sydney.

"The observation of complex soliton dynamics paves the way to a wide range of applications, beyond pulse compression, for on-chip optical signal processing," Ms Sahin said.

Co-author of the study and Director of Sydney Nano, Professor Ben Eggleton, said: "This represents a major breakthrough for the field of soliton physics and is of fundamental technological importance.

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