Published the April 30, 2023

ERC Advanced Grants 2022 : Laurent Vivien, Laureate for the CRYPTONIT project

Silicon (Si) photonics stands as a solid candidate to address the scaling challenges of emerging communication systems with an ever-growing number of interconnected devices. However, Si has major physical limitations that prevent on-chip integration of key functions: strong two-photon absorption limiting nonlinear optical devices, Si centrosymmetry preventing fast optical modulation, and an indirect bandgap nature hindering light emission and amplification. The common solution to overcome these limitations is the hybrid integration of various materials on Si, each addressing one specific limitation. However, this strategy requires a dedicated technology for each material to be integrated, which compromises cost and scalability. In this context, the CRYPTONIT project will explore a new paradigm for Si photonics based on the hybrid integration of multifunctional zirconia-based crystalline oxides (c-oxides), providing several physical properties non-existent in Si: strong nonlinearities, ferroelectricity and light amplification. The project will focus on the demonstration of advanced nonlinear and optoelectronic devices on Si, operating in the near-infrared for the development of highly-efficient and broadband photonic integrated circuits and it will open new horizons for research and applications in communications, sensing, and quantum photonics.

Fig: Vision of the CRYPTONIT project combining the non-linear optical properties of crystalline oxides with the silicon photonics platform for the development of innovative circuits for optical communications (@C2N-CNRS)

Dr Vivien is a CNRS Director of Research at the Centre for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (C2N), France. He joined the CNRS in 2003 on the development of innovative concepts for Si photonics including optoelectronic and hybrid photonic devices. His team was among the first to demonstrate high-speed waveguide integrated germanium photodetectors and carrier-depletion-based silicon modulators. Dr Vivien has also been at the forefront of the development of hybrid integration of carbon nanotubes on Si and on high-speed Pockels effect in strained silicon waveguides and c-oxide integration on Si and SiN photonics platforms. Since 2016, he has served as Deputy Director of C2N and Director of the Photonics Department. In 2021, with J. Michon (Fr, president & CEO), J.J. Hu from MIT (USA), and D. Kita from Ayar Labs (USA), he cofounded the start-up company InSpek-solution for the development of Integrated sensors ( In 2014, he received a Consolidator European Research Council (ERC) grant on strained silicon photonics platform. He is also elected Fellows of Optica (formerly OSA), EOS and SPIE. He regularly serves as a Chair or a program committee member of EOS, OSA, IEEE and SPIE conferences.