Ill. - The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
has received a grant from the Defense Advanced Research
Projects Agency to create a photonic research center
to develop ultra-fast light sources for high-speed
signal processing and optical communications systems.
The grant will provide $6.2 million in funding over
The Hyper-Uniform Nanophotonic
Technology Center is directed by Norman K.Y. Cheng,
a professor of electrical and computer engineering
and a researcher at the university's micro and nanoelectronics
laboratory. Illinois is the lead university for the
center. Partner institutions are Columbia University,
the Georgia Institute of Technology and Harvard University.
"The HUNT Center's mission
is to develop critical technologies - including hyper-uniform
nanophotonic fabrication methods, high-performance
quantum dot arrays and ultra-fast lasers - for optoelectronic
interconnects," Cheng said. "The center
will address the high-performance optical switching
and data routing technologies needed for flexible
connections-on-demand and efficient bandwidth delivery
in next-generation communications systems."
A primary focus of the center
is improvement in laser technology that is now feasible
due to the ultra-fast light-emitting transistor, recently
discovered by center researchers Milton Feng and Nick
Holonyak Jr. The light-emitting transistor can modulate
both electrical and optical signals simultaneously,
and could extend the modulation bandwidth of a semiconductor
light source from 20 gigahertz to more than 100 gigahertz.
Faster signal processing and information transfer
The development of long-wavelength
quantum-dot microcavity laser technologies would facilitate
large-capacity seamless communications, Cheng said.
Researchers at the center will explore ways to improve
the size, distribution and optical quality of quantum
dots that could be incorporated into the active region
of light-emitting-transistor-based lasers and long-wavelength
quantum-dot lasers. Proposed techniques include nanoscale
semiconductor growth and characterization, nanopatterning,
and nanostructure device design and fabrication.
CONTACT: James E. Kloeppel,
Physical Sciences Editor 217-244-1073; email@example.com