Nanophotonics and optics
Our research and development in the field of nanophotonics and optics are aimed at creating photonic devices with unique characteristics or completely new functionality. In these devices, the effects of concentration and field control, due to new optical phenomena, implement mechanisms for controlling the interaction of light with matter. This opens up promising horizons for scientific and practical development of a wide range of photonic devices from ultra-productive computing, secure communications, controlled materials and highly efficient solar panels, to personal, individual, real-time monitoring of human vital signs that can detect ultra-low concentrations and chemical composition of biological objects.
At FMN Laboratory, we develop and use CMOS-compatible micro and nanotechnologies to develop innovative approaches and methodologies for light control and optical detection at the micro and nanoscale. To implement these approaches, along with classical microtechnologies, we are developing new optoelectromechanical, magneto-optical and optofluidic methods for controlling electromagnetic waves, the interaction of light with matter and nanostructures, and for controlling small displacements and accelerations.
We use these features and the latest developments to create unique integrated systems in the following fields:
- Element base on new physical principles (small-sized sources of coherent radiation, high-speed optoelectronic converters, etc.)
- High-speed data transmission systems
- Integrated optics
- Adaptive optical systems
- Inertial, temperature and acoustic sensors
- Single-photon detectors
- Integrated optical sensors of biological objects for microfluidic laboratories on a chip
Our team uses a combination of theory, modeling, technology, and experiment to implement practical developments based on the unique properties of the created nanostructures and nanomaterials.
Nanophotonics studies the “behavior” of light on a nanometer scale and the interaction of light with nanometer objects. In addition to classical dielectric devices, it usually includes metal components that allow light to be transmitted and focused. This area of nanophotonics is usually called plasmonics. Plasmon devices use electromagnetic oscillations (waves), known as surface plasmon polaritons (or surface plasmons, PP), which propagate at the metal-isolator interface when excited by an external light source.
Plasmon optical phenomena have been actively studied in recent years due to their property of focusing light and amplifying optical fields near precision designed and manufactured nano-objects. This makes it possible to look for fundamentally new technical solutions that can allow combining in one device high performance and ultra-high degree of integration, characteristic of photonics and microelectronics, respectively.
A number of physical and technological limitations hinder the widespread practical use of plasmon devices. The main physical limitation is the large ohmic losses in metals, which lead to the rapid decay of surface plasmons, which has a detrimental effect on the performance of plasmon devices. To reduce losses in passive plasmon systems, we are developing new materials and device designs, as well as technological methods for the formation of structurally advanced materials (epitaxial films with a thickness of less than 50 nm with a surface roughness of less than 1 nm) and structures based on them. In active plasmon systems, technologies for compensating for losses through the introduction of amplifying media (quantum dots, dyes), which provide “energizing” of surface plasmons along the path of their propagation.
The main technological limitation is the reproducible technology of forming sub-100nm of topological elements, conceived (for practical applications) over large areas, which radically complicates the implementation due to the high tolerance requirements for the manufacture of plasmon structures. An additional negative factor (when using the standard technology for the manufacture of the multilayer semiconductor devices “bottom-up”) is the possible degradation of structurally perfect materials (already created in the first stages of manufacture) during technological processes of forming the device structure (lithography, etching, etc.)
The FMN Laboratory team has developed a number of basic technological processes that are compatible with mass production technologies (electron beam lithography, plasma chemical etching, etc.), which make it possible to create devices with sub-100nm topological elements and the area of a standard crystal of a modern processor.
In the field of plasmonics, the main areas of research and development at FMN Laboratory are plasmon waveguides and high-speed data transmission systems based on them, as well as high-speed optoelectronic converters, plasmon sources of coherent light and plasmon sensors. Of particular interest to us are integral photon-plasmon systems in which the unique characteristics of photonic devices are achieved through their manufacture in a single technological cycle with plasmon elements, ensuring the precision of their interaction.
Plasmon waveguides with signal input-output elements can be used in highly loaded computing systems as a link between optical information transmission lines (fiber-optic cables) and the computational core (processor integrated circuits), to accelerate interprocessor information transfer in in-package systems, as well as interprocessor data transfer. Depending on the purpose and the required transmission distance (from several microns to several millimeters), both passive and active plasmon waveguides can be used.
The use of plasmon waveguides can significantly reduce the size of the photon part of the circuits, which have diffraction restrictions, and significantly reduce the energy consumption of active components. FMN Laboratory is developing technological processes for manufacturing plasmon waveguides of various designs, radiation input-output systems, switching elements, and a high-speed data transmission system based on them.
To create plasmonic sources of coherent light or spasers, the so-called plasmonic analogs of lasers, we study various types of resonant nanostructures manufactured on areas of hundreds of microns with an accuracy of several nanometers. Depending on the design, such resonant nanostructures can lead us to the development of universal nanoscale sources of photons, plasmons, or electromagnetic fields. In addition to practical applications, the study of spaser structures can make it possible to understand and explain the fundamental physical foundations and limitations of nanoscale optics.
For the formation of nanophotonics devices, we use advanced CMOS-compatible micro and nanotechnologies, offering and developing new approaches using the most modern technological and metrological equipment.
One of the key elements of technology at FMN Laboratory is nanolithography in combination with technological processes for manufacturing full-cycle nanophotonic devices. Taking into account the tremendous acceleration in the pace of modern developments, the complexity of experimental work, and the urgent need to reduce the size of nanophotonic devices, we are constantly improving the processes of electron beam lithography to enable tomorrow’s sub-10nm devices to be manufactured today.