Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and other institutions have made flexible and stretchable photonic devices using a specialized type of glass called chalcogenide formed into a spring-like coil.
"You end up with something as flexible as rubber, that can bend and stretch, and still has a high refractive index and is very transparent," says MIT professor Juejun Hu.
Hu's team generated various photonic components interlinked by waveguides in an epoxy resin matrix, which was made more rigid near the optical components and more flexible around the waveguides.
Potential applications the researchers envision include cables for connecting computing devices, and diagnostic and monitoring systems that could be affixed to the skin or implanted in the body.
The team also has devised a new process for integrating photonic layers of chalcogenide glass and two-dimensional materials such as graphene with conventional semiconductor photonic circuitry, with fabrication enabled directly on the semiconductor surface at room temperature.
From MIT News
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