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Jain leads effort on 3D architecture for new optical functionalities in glass

Himanshu Jain, Lehigh University's Diamond Distinguished Chair and Professor of materials science and engineering, is partnering with Professor Volkmar Dierolf (Physics, Lehigh College of Arts and Sciences) and Dr. Daniel Nolan (Corning, Inc.) to exam new functionalities in inorganic glasses. Their recently awarded NSF GOALI grant, entitled Incongruent Growth of Single Crystal 3D Architecture for New Optical Functionalities in Glass, is supporting research toward improving photonic integrated circuit, or PIC, technology.

The team recently demonstrated the proof-of-principle for fabricating 3D single crystal architecture in glass (SCAG) using a femtosecond (fs) laser. The new project will extend this method further to realize the concept of "principal state transmission," which has recently introduced by Corning, Inc. It promises to increase the transmission bandwidth of an optical fiber by an order of magnitude, thereby facilitating the next breakthrough in optical communication.

PICs are the optical analog of microelectronic circuits, and are key to the next major advancement in communication, sensing, information, display, and other technologies. They offer several advantages compared to discrete systems, including smaller size, lower power consumption, better performance and reliability through simplification of component coupling and packaging processes, and lower cost through batch fabrication.

The methods currently employed for fabricating PICs are suitable for planar geometries, whereas achieving a high density of device elements requires fabrication of 3D systems that are particularly important for optical computing, optical communication and new forms of high-density optical memory. A major hurdle toward this goal nhas been the difficulty of fabrication and integration of transparent, multifunctional micro-optical elements, which must be crystals of low symmetry rather than glass that is inherently passive.

January 20, 2016

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