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Materials Science at Oregon State University

Slow Light Enhanced Nano-Photonic Devices for Optical Communication and Sensing

Date: Thursday, Oct 27th
Presenter: Dr. Alan Wang, OSU Electrical Engineering


Nano-photonic devices are playing increasingly important roles in optical communication and optical sensor systems. By engineering the nano-photonic structures, for example, by fine- tuning the photonic band diagram of photonic crystal waveguides, one can slow down the group velocity of the photons by two orders of magnitude, which can significantly increase the light-matter interaction. In this presentation, I will discuss the design and fabrication of an innovative photonic crystal slot waveguide on silicon-on-insulator (SOI) wafers, with special emphasis on coupling light from conventional optical fibers into slow light enhanced nano- photonic waveguide.

Based on this ultra-efficient platform, we have developed highly compact (300 micron) and sensitive on-chip optical sensors for water quality monitoring (50ppb xylene in water) and green-house gas detection (100ppm methane in nitrogen). When the slow light enhanced nano-photonic waveguide is combined with other innovative materials, we can create various photonic devices with enhanced functionalities for a broad spectrum of applications in board level optical interconnect, radio frequency (RF) photonic communication, electromagnetic wave detection, and bio-molecule sensing. I will show the state-of-the-art design of a nano-photonic modulator using E-O polymer infiltrated silicon photonic crystal slot waveguide with unprecedented efficiency, and experimental demonstration of 735pm/V in-device E-O coefficient and 0.44V-mm of V*pi*L, which is ten times better than the best results of our competitors.

In summary, slow light enhanced nano-photonic photonic devices have demonstrated extremely high potential in many communication and sensing areas, and will continue to broaden its application in many emerging fields through interdisciplinary research.

Alan X. Wang is an assistant professor of the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Oregon State University. He received his B.S. degree from Tsinghua University, and M.S. degree from the Institute of Semiconductors, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, P.R. China, in 2000 and 2003, respectively, and his Ph.D. degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin in 2006. From January 2007 to August 2011, he was with Omega Optics, Inc., Austin, Texas, where he served as the Chief Research Scientist with more than 4 million dollars of research grants from various government agencies, including National Science Foundation (NSF), Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR), Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA), Army Research Office (ARO), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and National Institute of Health (NIH). He joined OSU as an assistant professor in August 2011.
His research interests include:
- Nano-photonic devices: Photonic Crystals and Surface Plasmonics
- Optical sensing for biomedical research and environmental protection: Raman Scattering and Infrared absorption
- Board level optical interconnects and on-chip optical interconnects
- Silicon photonics: guided wave modulators, switches, and power efficient devices
- Innovative micro- and nano- fabrication technology
- RF photonic devices and systems
He has 36 journal publications and 30 conference presentations (including 7 plenary/invited presentations), and also holds one U.S. patent. He is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the Optical Society of America (OSA), and the International Society for Optical Engineering (SPIE). He served as a program committee member and session chair for SPIE Photonic West conference in Optoelectronic Interconnects and Component Integration XI in 2010 and 2011.