In every information network layer, from global to core-to-core, data communication traffic is explosively increasing. In order to construct and operate networks sustainably, photonic devices for data communication must be downsized and highly functionalized and produced cost effectively.
Si nano-photonics platform technology enables dense integration of small and low-power-consuming photonic devices (lasers, modulators, photodetectors, filters, etc.) and electronics (drivers, controllers, signal processors, etc.) on a silicon platform.
To minimize the size, cost, and power consumption of photonics-electronics convergence devices, we take two promising approaches as follows.
One is III-V semiconductor device integration on Si. For the implementation of “on-Si” active devices, which is hard to achieve because of the material nature of Si, and in the pursuit of extreme performance, we exploit our good command of nanofabrication technology to introduce nanostructures. In addition, we are also exploring new approaches to active-device fabrication using matured Si semiconductor fabrication facilities.
The other is advanced material integration on Si. In addition to fundamental group-IV semiconductors (Si and Ge), we pursue extreme device performance by integrating advanced materials (SiOxNy, nano-carbon, etc.) to utilize their excellent material characteristics in combination with nanostructure configurations.
Owing to our mature fundamental technological base for the design, crystal growth, fabrication, and evaluation of group-IV and III-V semiconductor photonic devices and low-temperature-fabricated silica-based waveguides, we have already realized high-performance photonic integrated circuits and also successfully performed photonics-electronics integration.
Highly functional compact and energy-efficient integrated P-E convergent devices will be key technologies for building a sustainable information network system. Furthermore, nanostructure-device technology, which would provide us ultrahigh density, ultralow cost, and ultra-energy-efficient devices, can be a trigger to a paradigm shift in future information networks.