Lossless Transport of Microwave Phonons along Silicon Photonic Nanowires

01 January 2017 → 31 December 2019
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Natural sciences
    • Other biological sciences
    • Other natural sciences
Project description

Both sound and light are vibrations, sound in the positions of atoms and light in the electromagnetic field. This proposal deals with microwave sound (10 GHz phonons), infrared light (200 THz photons) and their interaction. Specifically, intense sound scatters light while powerful light creates sound.

The internet dominantly exploits photons for long-haul communication, transmitting data at everincreasing rates under the oceans. In the arena of large-scale computation, consensus grows that the main hurdle to better energy-efficiency is the movement of data between distant points in a processor. Thus there is colossal interest in translating the long-haul success of photons to short links.

This begs the question if light can perform certain computations too. Low-loss sound does exactly this: it permits some photons to control others. Doing so, basic signal processing tasks were recently demonstrated with the same nanoscale silicon technology that drives today’ data centers. However, these early devices will not do in realistic settings. Our goal is to greatly extend this work by radically enhancing the flow of phonons.

Current phonon-photon converters involve extremely localized phonons with unacceptable loss. By aggressively adopting new techniques, we will pursue a millionfold boost in the phonon propagation length. If successful, we will open novel paradigms for the control of phonons and photons, which can have major impact on how we connect and compute as a society.