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Nov 5th, 2012
KIT, University of Louvain & Humboldt University have developed a novel etch method produces 3D microstructures in silicon for photonic crystals
Promising new methods for optical processing for telecoms.
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Another dimension: SPRIE produces micrometer structures that refract light.
Another dimension: SPRIE produces micrometer structures that refract light.

In modern, high-speed telecommunications, light carries digital information over hundreds or thousands of kilometers within seconds. Switching, modulating and multiplexing devices based on adapted optical materials control the light signals.

Now researchers from Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany, the Université Catholique de Louvain, Belgium, and Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany, have developed a novel method to produce photonic crystals to manipulate such optical signals. Their optical properties are adjusted by structures of micrometer size. The method is rapid, cheap, and simple and partly uses the self-organization principle. The work has been published in the journal Advanced Functional Materials.

Andreas Frölich from Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, explains, “Optical properties of materials can be influenced decisively by specific structurization. Silicon is used in components, such as filters or deflectors, for telecommunications. So far, however, all of these components have been flat, that is two-dimensional. Entirely novel concepts might be feasible using three-dimensional components. Typically, the cost of structuring the silicon in this way is high.”

The desired functional structure has to be very regular in all three spatial directions and details usually measure just one micrometer. Professor Martin Wegener, of the Institute of Applied Physics and Institute of Nanotechnology of KIT and the coordinator of the DFG Center for Functional Nanostructures (CFN), comments, “Our new SPRIE fabrication methods is based on established technologies, such as etching and innovative methods like self-organization and combines them in a creative manner.”

To read more: http://optics.org/news/3/10/42



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