Moving precision communication, metrology, quantum applications from lab to chip

February 13, 2020

WASHINGTON, February 11, 2020 -- The field of photonic integration -- the area of photonics in which waveguides and devices are fabricated as an integrated system onto a flat wafer -- is relatively young compared to electronics. Photonic integration has focused on communications applications traditionally fabricated on silicon chips, because these are less expensive and more easily manufactured.

Researchers are exploring promising new waveguide platforms that provide these same benefits for applications that operate in the ultraviolet to the infrared spectrum. These platforms enable a much broader range of applications, such as spectroscopy for chemical sensing, precision metrology and computation.

A paper in APL Photonics, from AIP Publishing, provides a perspective of the field of ultra-wideband photonic waveguide platforms based on wide bandgap semiconductors. These waveguides and integrated circuits can realize power-efficient, compact solutions, and move key portions of ultra-high-performance systems to the chip scale instead of large tabletop instruments in a lab.

Until now, key components and subsystems for applications, such as atomic clocks, quantum communications and high-resolution spectroscopy, are constructed in racks and on tabletops. This has been necessary because they operate at wavelengths not accessible to silicon waveguides due to its lower bandgap and other absorption properties in the UV to near-IR that reduce the optical power handling capabilities, among other factors.

Daniel J. Blumenthal and his team in Santa Barbara, California, have researched photonic integration platforms based on waveguides fabricated with wide bandgap semiconductors that have ultralow propagation losses.

"Now that the silicon market has been addressed for telecommunications and LIDAR applications, we are exploring new materials that support an exciting variety of new applications at wavelengths not accessible to silicon waveguides," said Blumenthal. "We found the most promising waveguide platforms to be silicon nitride, tantala (tantalum pentoxide), aluminum nitride and alumina (aluminum oxide)."

Each platform has the potential to address different applications such as silicon nitride for visible to near-IR atomic transitions, tantalum pentoxide for raman spectroscopy or aluminum oxide for UV interactions with atoms for quantum computing.

Applications, such as atomic clocks in satellites and next-generation high-capacity data center interconnects, can also benefit from putting functions such as ultralow linewidth lasers onto lightweight, low-power chips. This is an area of increased focus as exploding data center capacity pushes traditional fiber interconnects to their power and space limitations.

Blumenthal said next-generation photonic integration will require ultra-wideband photonic circuit platforms that scale from the UV to the IR and also offer a rich set of linear and nonlinear circuit functions as well as ultralow loss and high-power handling capabilities.
The article, "Photonic integration for UV to IR applications," is authored by Daniel J. Blumenthal. The article appears in APL Photonics on Feb. 11, 2020 (10.1063/1.5131683) and can be accessed at


APL Photonics is the dedicated home for open access multidisciplinary research from and for the photonics community. The journal publishes fundamental and applied results that significantly advance the knowledge in photonics across physics, chemistry, biology and materials science. See

American Institute of Physics

Related Spectroscopy Articles from Brightsurf:

Perspectives of infrared spectroscopy in quantitative estimation of proteins
The present review describes the basic principle and the instrumentation of IR spectroscopy along with its advancements.

A new method to measure optical absorption in semiconductor crystals
Tohoku University researchers have revealed more details about omnidirectional photoluminescence (ODPL) spectroscopy - a method for probing semiconducting crystals with light to detect defects and impurities.

Properties of catalysts studied with gamma ray resonance
Steam-assisted oil extraction methods for heavy deposits have long been the focus of attention at Kazan Federal University.

Researchers demonstrate record speed with advanced spectroscopy technique
Researchers have developed an advanced spectrometer that can acquire data with exceptionally high speed.

Spectroscopy approach poised to improve treatment for serious heart arrhythmia
Researchers have demonstrated that a new mapping approach based on near infrared spectroscopy can distinguish between fat and muscle tissue in the heart.

Late blight research pairs spectroscopy with classic plant pathology diagnostics
Gold and colleagues at the University of Wisconsin-Madison recently published research showing how they used contact spectroscopy to non-destructively sense how plant pathogens differentially damage, impair, and alter plant traits during the course of infection.

Doing more with terahertz: Simplifying near-infrared spectroscopy systems
Researchers from Beihang University, China, and Tokushima University, Japan, have developed a terahertz spectroscopy scheme that offers outstanding resolution using a single laser.

A new horizon for vibrational circular dichroism spectroscopy
(1) The development of solid state and time-step VCD methods opened a new horizon to reveal the mechanism of chirality amplification from microscopic to supramolecular scales.

Unraveling the optical parameters: New method to optimize plasmon enhanced spectroscopy
Plasmon enhanced spectroscopies allow to reach single molecule sensitivity and a lateral resolution even down to sub-molecular resolution.

Nanoscale spectroscopy review showcases a bright future
A new review authored by international leaders in their field, and published in Nature, focuses on the luminescent nanoparticles at the heart of many advances and the opportunities and challenges for these technologies to reach their full potential.

Read More: Spectroscopy News and Spectroscopy Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to