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.
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. 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.