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Photonic Chip 'Fits Together Like Lego'


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Alvaro Casas Bedoya holding a silicon wafer used in chip manufacturing.

Alvaro Casas Bedoya, Associate Director for Photonic Integration in the University's School of Physics, said the unique method of heterogenous materials integration has been 10 years in the making.

Credit: Stefanie Zingsheim

A compact silicon photonic semiconductor chip developed by researchers at Australia's University of Sydney Nano Institute and Australian National University significantly expands radio-frequency (RF) bandwidth and potentially could be used in advanced radar, satellite systems, wireless networks, and 6G and 7G telecommunications.

The chip was developed using heterogenous materials integration, a process that University of Sydney's Ben Eggleton described as similar to the fitting together of Lego bricks.

With a photonic circuit, the device boasts 15 gigahertz of tunable frequencies and spectral resolution of only 37 megahertz, or less than a quarter of 1% of its total bandwidth.

Said the University of Sydney's Moritz Merklein, "This work paves the way for a new generation of compact, high-resolution RF photonic filters with wideband frequency tunability, particularly beneficial in air and spaceborne RF communication payloads, opening possibilities for enhanced communications and sensing capabilities."

From The University of Sydney (Australia)
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