Light, sound, action: Extending the life of acoustic waves on microchips

May 06, 2020

Scientists in Australia and Europe have taken an important step towards removing 'hot' electrons from the data chips that are a driving force in global telecommunications.

Researchers from the University of Sydney Nano Institute and Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light say that chips using light and sound, rather than electricity, will be important for the development of future tech, such as high-speed internet as well as radar and sensor technology. This will require the low-heat, fast transmission of information.

"As demand for high bandwidth information systems increase, we want to get ahead of the curve to ensure we can invent devices that don't overheat, have low energy costs and reduce the emission of greenhouse gases," said Dr Moritz Merklein from the Eggleton Research Group in the School of Physics and Sydney Nano.

The idea is to use sound waves, known as phonons, to store and transfer information that chips receive from fibre-optic cables. This allows the chips to operate without needing electrons, which produce heat. The team was the first in the world to successfully manage this process on chip.

However, information transferred from fibre-optic cables onto chips in the form of sound waves decays in nanoseconds, which is not long enough to do anything useful.

"What we have done is use carefully timed synchronised pulses of light to reinforce the sound waves on-chip," said Dr Birgit Stiller, who has moved from the University of Sydney to lead an independent research group at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light in Germany.

"We have shown for the first time that refreshing these phonons is possible and that information can therefore be stored and processed for a much longer time," she said.

The scientists carefully timed pulses of light to extend the lifetime of the information stored in sound waves on the chip by 300 percent, from 10 nanoseconds to 40 nanoseconds.

The research, published in the journal Optica, was done in collaboration with the Laser Physics Centre at the Australian National University and the Centre for Nano Optics at the University of Southern Denmark.

"We plan to use this method to extend how long the information remains on-chip," said Dr Merklein, also from the Institute of Photonics and Optical Science at the University of Sydney.

Dr Stiller said: "Acoustic waves on chips are a promising way to store and transfer information.

"So far, such storage was fundamentally limited by the lifetime of the sound waves. Refreshing the acoustic waves allows us to overcome this constraint."

Associate Professor Christian Wolff, a project collaborator from the University of Southern Denmark, said: "Theoretically, this concept can be extended to the microsecond regime."

This proof-of-principle demonstration opens many possibilities for optical signal processing, fine filtering, high-precision sensing and telecommunications.
-end-
DOWNLOAD the research and photos of Dr Stiller and Dr Merklein at this link.

INTERVIEWS

Dr Birgit Stiller | birgit.stiller@mpl.mpg.de
Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light

Dr Moritz Merklein | moritz.merklein@sydney.edu.au
The University of Sydney Nano Institute | School of Physics

Professor Benjamin Eggleton | benjamin.eggleton@sydney.edu.au
Director, Sydney Nano | Director, Eggleton Research Group | The University of Sydney

MEDIA ENQUIRIES

Marcus Strom | marcus.strom@sydney.edu.au | +61 423 982 485

DECLARATION

This research was supported by the Australian Research Council (CE110001010, FL120100029); and the European Union H2020 Marie Sk?odowska-Curie Actions (713694).

University of Sydney

Related Sound Waves Articles from Brightsurf:

Remembrance of waves past: memory imprints motion on scattered waves
Now, it appears that between relativity and the classical (stationary) wave regime, there exists another regime of wave phenomena, where memory influences the scattering process.

Even if you want to, you can't ignore how people look or sound
Your perceptions of someone you just met are influenced in part by what they look like and how they sound.

Scientists achieve major breakthrough in preserving integrity of sound waves
In a breakthrough experiment, physicist and engineers at the CUNY ASRC have shown that it is possible to limit the movement of sound to a single direction without interruption even when there are deformations along the pathway.

Shaking light with sound
Combining integrated photonics and MEMS technology, scientists from EPFL and Purdue University demonstrate monolithic piezoelectric control of integrated optical frequency combs with bulk acoustic waves.

Sound waves transport droplets for rewritable lab-on-a-chip devices
Engineers at Duke University have demonstrated a versatile microfluidic lab-on-a-chip that uses sound waves to create tunnels in oil to digitally manipulate and transport droplets.

A sound treatment
University of Utah biomedical engineering assistant professor Jan Kubanek has discovered that sound waves of high frequency (ultrasound) can be emitted into a patient's brain to alter his or her state.

Light, sound, action: Extending the life of acoustic waves on microchips
Data centres and digital information processors are reaching their capacity limits and producing heat.

Cooling magnets with sound
Today, most quantum experiments are carried out with the help of light, including those in nanomechanics, where tiny objects are cooled with electromagnetic waves to such an extent that they reveal quantum properties.

Fish scattering sound waves has impact on aquaculture
Fisheries acoustics have been studied for over 40 years to assess biomass and optimize aquaculture applications, and researchers in France have examined the phenomenon of how fish scatter acoustic waves in a dense school of fish contained in an open-sea cage.

Using sound waves to remotely target drugs to tumors
The lack of a clinically viable method to track and direct cancer drugs to tumors is a big problem for targeted therapeutics.

Read More: Sound Waves News and Sound Waves Current Events
Brightsurf.com 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 Amazon.com.