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Hybrid Silicon Laser

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The Breakthrough

The demonstration of the first electrically pumped hybrid silicon laser overcomes one of the last remaining obstacles of integrated silicon photonics; namely, developing a low-cost light source on silicon. Previously, getting laser light from a silicon photonic chip was done using one of two approaches: attach and align individual pre-fabricated lasers directly to a silicon waveguide or have a high-powered external laser source off the chip and then route the light into the silicon chip using an optical fiber. Both approaches are expensive and not practical for high-volume production. This new laser is termed “hybrid” because it combines two materials: Silicon and an Indium Phosphide based material The Indium Phosphide based material is a compound semiconductor that is widely used today to produce commercial communication lasers.

When voltage is applied to the contacts, current flows, and the electrons (-) and holes (+) recombine in the center and generate light.

There are two key aspects to this development.
A novel design that uses an Indium Phosphide based material for light generation and amplification bonded to a silicon waveguide that forms the laser cavity and determines the laser's performance.
A unique manufacturing process which create a “glass-glue” which “fuses” these two materials together. This glass-glue is a mere 25 atoms thick.

In this process, the Indium Phosphide based wafer is bonded directly to a pre-patterned silicon photonic chip. This bonding does not require alignment of the indium phosphide based material to the silicon waveguide chip. When a voltage is applied to the bonded chip the light generated from the Indium Phosphide based material couples directly into the silicon waveguide creating a hybrid silicon laser.

This bonding technique can be performed at the wafer or die level, depending on the application, and could provide a solution for large scale optical integration onto a silicon platform.

Read the full Hybrid Silicon Laser White Paper.