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Metal-Optic Nanophotonic Modulators in Standard CMOS Technology

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posted on 2023-10-12, 16:00 authored by Mohamed ElKabbash, Sivan Trajtenberg-Mills, Isaac Harris, Saumil Bandyopadhyay, Mohamed I Ibrahim, Archer Wang, Xibi Chen, Cole Brabec, Hasan Z. Yildiz, Ruonan Han, Dirk Englund
Integrating nanophotonics with electronics promises revolutionary applications, from LiDAR to holographic displays. Although silicon photonics is maturing, realizing active nanophotonics in the ubiquitous bulk CMOS processes remains challenging. We introduce a fabless approach to embed active nanophotonics in bulk CMOS by co-designing the back-end-of-line metal layers for optical functionality. Using a 65nm CMOS process, we create plasmonic liquid crystal modulators with switching speeds 100x faster than commercial technologies. This zero-change nanophotonics method could equip mass-produced chips with optical communications, sensing and imaging. Embedding nanophotonics in the dominant electronics platform democratizes nanofabrication, spawning technologies from chip-scale LiDAR to holographic light-field displays.

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