Silicon Photonics

To support next generation computing, communication, and sensing needs, Sandia researchers have successfully developed a silicon photonics platform that leverages the semiconductor and nanotechnology capabilities of Sandia’s Microsystems and Engineering Sciences Applications (MESA) complex to create optical components for multiple applications.

Image of Silicon Photonics

As integrated circuit chips now incorporate over a billion transistors, and single boards provide multi-teraflop (1012) computing capacity, the bandwidth and energy required to communicate data within and between integrated circuits are becoming a primary performance bottleneck. Silicon photonics offers a potential breakthrough in optical interconnection performance, not only for supercomputer applications, but also for data communication and other applications. With promising results, Sandia researchers are actively exploring technology applications from cryogenic temperatures to high radiation environments. Silicon photonics also provides advantages beyond traditional digital applications. For RF systems that are computationally intensive and require high frequency operation, silicon photonics may be used for analog signal processing with power saving and frequency agility.

Applications and Industries

We are actively seeking collaborators on photonics projects ranging from fundamental research to commercialization of technologies in areas related to low energy optical communication and computing, as well as other areas of importance for national security such as RF signal processing, quantum information system, secure communication, sensing, and imaging.

Related IP
Patent Title Patent Number Grant Date
Adiabatic/diabatic polarization beam splitter 9,759,862 09/12/2017
Avalanche diode having reduced dark current and method for its manufacture 9,748,429 08/29/2017
On-chip photonic-phononic emitter-receiver apparatus 9,696,492 07/04/2017
Power meter ratio method of stabilizing a resonant modulator 9,467,233 10/11/2016
Two-dimensional APDs and SPADs and related methods 9,391,225 07/12/2016
Thermo-optically tuned photonic resonators with concurrent electrical connection and thermal isolation 9,366,822 06/14/2016
Guided wave opto-acoustic device 9,268,092 02/23/2016
Methods and apparatus of entangled photon generation using four-wave mixing 9,268,195 02/23/2016
Methods of producing strain in a semiconductor waveguide and related devices 9,261,647 02/16/2016
Athermalization of resonant optical devices via thermo-mechanical feedback 9,239,431 01/19/2016
Thermally tuneable optical modulator adapted for differential signaling 9,235,065 01/12/2016
Systems and methods for controlling an operating wavelength 9,127,983 09/08/2015
Low-voltage differentially-signaled modulators 9,128,308 09/08/2015
Methods and devices for optimizing the operation of a semiconductor optical modulator 9,083,460 07/14/2015
Methods and devices for maintaining a resonant wavelength of a photonic microresonator 9,081,135 07/14/2015
Silicon photonic heater-modulator 9,081,215 07/14/2015
Passive thermo-optic feedback for robust athermal photonic systems 9,063,354 06/23/2015
Electro-refractive photonic device 9,052,535 06/09/2015
High-speed photonic modulator designs 8,947,764 02/03/2015
Method and apparatus for optical phase error correction 8,822,959 09/02/2014
Ultralow loss cavities and waveguides scattering loss cancellation 8,625,939 01/07/2014
System for active control of integrated resonant optical device wavelength 8,615,173 12/24/2013
Silicon photonics thermal phase shifter with reduced temperature range 8,610,994 12/17/2013
Nano-optomechanical transducer 8,600,200 12/03/2013
Integrated optic vector-matrix multiplier 8,027,587 09/27/2011
Wavelength-tunable optical ring resonators 7,983,517 07/19/2011
Optical waveguide device with an adiabatically-varying width 7,941,014 05/10/2011
Thermal microphotonic sensor and sensor array 7,667,200 02/23/2010
Wavelength-tunable optical ring resonators 7,616,850 11/10/2009
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