Germanium-tin could be a winning combination for silicon photonics

Categorie(s) : News, Research

Published : 4 February 2019

Researchers from INAC and Leti obtained a mid-infrared laser emission (2.7 microns to 3.2 microns) at 230 K in a germanium-tin (GeSn) alloy nanostructure. The advance paves the way toward photonic integrated laser sources on silicon chips. Currently, laser sources must be added to circuits one by one.

The major challenge was creating a tin-rich alloy, necessary to improving the material’s light-emitting properties without altering its high crystallinity. The researchers came up with a new process resulting in a 16% tin ratio. They then created two types of optical cavities: microdisks and photonic crystals. They will now focus on developing a device that can operate at ambient temperature. With operation currently at 230 K, they have already gone well beyond the 90 K obtained in 2015 by the researchers who pioneered the GeSn laser.

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