Hybrid integration of crystalline oxides for silicon photonics
Functional oxides, epitaxy, silicon photonics, nonlinear optics
Starting February 2020.
Silicon photonics, i.e. the use of Si for integrated circuits, has emerged industrially more than a decade ago and is now a well-established technology. Currently, the main application addressed is data-communication, providing optical transceiver cables for datacentres. For future communication networks, new challenges have to be considered in terms of speed, power consumption, flexibility, and reliability. Thus, radically new solutions are required. At C2N, we are currently exploring a new paradigm for advanced photonic circuits based on the hybrid integration of crystalline oxides in the silicon photonics platform for the telecom wavelength range (1.3µm-1.55µm). The core concept is to exploit the giant nonlinear optical coefficients and rare-earth doping (e.g. Erbium) of functional oxides to realize groundbreaking devices such as a multi-wavelength amplified emitter for Si photonics.
This internship will explore the properties of rare-earth doped oxide thin films, and in particular the tuning of their oxygen content. We focus on yttria-stabilized zirconia (YSZ) as oxide matrix, having recently obtained first results in terms of light amplification and nonlinear effects with YSZ waveguides. The work will take place in the framework of a national research project, with available expertise on materials design, thin film growth, photonic devices, and advanced optical characterizations.
Epitaxial growth of oxide thin films by pulsed laser deposition (PLD), photoluminescence, micro-fabrication processes in cleanroom.
Gifted and willing for experimental physics, well-disposed towards infrared electromagnetic waves, with a background in materials science and/or solid state physics.
Possibility for a doctoral thesis
Yes, funded by French ANR (FOIST project, 2019-2023).
(in french) Direct band gap group IV semiconductor microdisk Laser
Résumé / summary
The objective of the project is to explore the potential of merging direct band gap Ge-based material for developing new electro-optical application with group IV elements such as optical sources in the NIR and the MIR. During the training, the candidate will be involved in optical analysis of light emission from Ge-based micro-cavities. Depending on his motivation and on the lab schedules, the candidate will be also introduced to the clean room facilities of C2N to contribute to device processing using the micro-nano fabrication tools.
Research context :
One of the major challenges of photonics is to meet a full-CMOS compatible technology. The main missing element that would allow to fully exploit the technology of silicon photonics is the laser source. Unfortunately silicon and germanium, which are the main group-IV elements used in the microelectronics industry, are penalized for the emission of light because of the indirect nature of their electronic band structure. Currently the semiconductor laser sources are mainly made from III-V elements whose integration on silicon turns out to be complex, for reasons of chemical incompatibilities between III-V and IV-IV, and also of manufacturing cost. C2N research group have succeed to turn the band structure of germanium into direct band gap through the application of tensile mechanical stress or by alloying Ge with tin. This has led to recent demonstration of laser effect in Ge at low temperature. It is also possible to combine both strain and alloying to obtain direct band gap materials. It has been recently shown a laser emission regime in the GeSn operating at low temperature as well. It turns out that the alloy of Ge with tin and the application of tensile stress reduces the band gap of the materials and the operating wavelengths can extend from 2 μm to 5 μm in depending on the tin composition and the stress applied. At these wavelength CO2 and CH4 exhibit a high absorbtion signature. Applications for labs-on-chip spectroscopy for biosensing, gas detection and air monitoring are envisioned with the opportunity to integrate the full group IV photonic circuits in interconnected objects.
Artificial quantum materials with photons
Quantum systems containing many interacting particles are particularly hard to comprehend: when the number of particles increases, the size of the Hilbert space diverges and calculations based on classical computers become intractable. One way to learn about quantum many-body systems is to realize experiments in a well-controlled environment, as originally proposed by Richard Feynman. Pioneering experiments have been realized using cold atoms, trapped ions or superconducting circuits. A promising approach nowadays is to use photons in order to implement photonic quantum materials. In this case, quantum properties are directly imprinted on a light field, which is a great advantage as it provides optical access to the observables of the system. Moreover, photonic quantum materials may be useful for realizing practical devices (quantum light sources for instance).
Our group at C2N has developed a unique expertise in designing photonic materials using lattices of coupled microcavities. For example, we have recently realized the first topological laser in a 1D lattice, and explored exploring Dirac physics in 2D honeycomb lattices.
To progress toward the implementation of multi-photon quantum phases, we need to create strong photon-photon interactions. To do so, we mix the cavity photons with electronic excitations (excitons) created in quantum wells located in the cavity. The resulting exciton-photon state, named cavity polariton, shows significant interactions which have allowed demonstrating many fascinating such superfluidity of light.
The challenge we propose now is to engineer interactions that are strong enough (at the single photon level) to enter the quantum regime. The work will start with the development and characterization of novel active materials based on coupled quantum wells, which are expected to give rise to much stronger interactions. Photon-photon interactions will be characterized by low temperature spectroscopy and by photon correlations. The smoking gun evidence for the quantum regime will be the demonstration of single photon emission in a single lattice site. We will then build larger and larger lattices that will enable implementing and studying many-body Hamiltonians of increasing complexity.
We are looking for a candidate with skills and interest in experimental work, as well as solid knowledge in quantum optics and solid state physics. The work will be mainly experimental (low-temperature quantum optical spectroscopy), and the student will be introduced to sample processing in unique technological environment offered by the C2N clean room. Finally, this research being part of a large international collaboration, the student will directly interact with scientists from other laboratories and particularly with theoreticians.
Mechanical friction between perfectly flat 2D materials
Interfacial adhesion and friction are of special interest for the development of microelectromechanical systems. The frictional force between two perfectly flat materials is highly dependent on the orientation between the layers. The clearest example of this is superlubricity, a phenomenon proposed theoretically in [Hirano et al., PRB 41, 11837 (1990)], which consists in an ultralow friction state between graphite layers in incommensurate states. The lattice mismatch created by the incommensurate lattices results in the cancellation of one of the channels of energy dissipation, preventing the collective stick-slip motion of atoms in contact and as a consequence the kinetic friction force is vanishingly small. Other dissipative processes, such as electronic and phononic friction, persist and therefore the net frictional force will not be zero. Nevertheless, the reduction of the friction is expected to be of orders of magnitude. This phenomenon has been measured experimentally [Dienwiebel et al., PRL 92, 126101 (2004), Koren et al., Science 348, 6235 (2015)] showing a frictional force between layers within the sensitivity of the instrument (or virtually zero) and a high angular dependence of the friction force with the orientation between layers. This dependence showed an increase of orders of magnitude in the friction close to perfect alignment of the layers, with the expected 60° periodicity characteristic of the honeycomb lattice structure. Interestingly, these highly sensitive friction measurements have not shown any indication of other commensurate states, probably because the remaining friction forces (e.g. phononic and electronic friction) are much larger than the friction generated by these commensurate states, or because the resolution of the instrument was not good enough.
Superlubricity has not been measured in other material, nor in combination of different materials. The question of the existence of superlubricity between two layers with different lattice constants remains to be investigated. We propose to combine recent developments in the fabrication of van der Waals heterostructure with advance atomic force microscope techniques to investigate the frictional forces between perfectly flat 2D materials with different lattice constants. This thesis project will focus on the understanding of: the existence of superlubricity in incommensurate materials, scaling of the friction between perfectly flat surfaces (e.g., area versus edge scaling), role of phononic and electronic friction and interlayer spacing effects.
(in french) Hologrammes reconfigurables à résolution nanométrique
Le sujet du stage est l’exploration d’une nouvelle voie technologique pour la conception d’un modulateur spatial de lumière à très haute
résolution (<1 μm). Basée sur les travaux de recherche du C2N, il s’agit d’une architecture à partir de particules plasmoniques utilisées comme « pinces optiques » qui pourront piéger des billes modulant la phase et/ou amplitude de l’onde lumineuse incidente. L’objectif principal du stage sera d’étudier la faisabilité de ce concept au moyen d’une étude bibliographique, de calculs analytiques et de simulations électromagnétiques. Le stage se déroulera au C2N, et pourra être poursuivi par une thèse.
Reconfigurable holograms with nanometric resolution
The internship mission is a scientific study about the design of a spatial light modulator with very high resolution (pixel pitch<1 μm).
Based on C2N research work, the new architecture is based on plasmonic particles used as "optical tweezers" that can trap beads that modulate the phase and/or amplitude of the incident light wave. The main objective of the internship will be to study the feasibility of this concept through a literature review, analytical calculations and electromagnetic simulations. The internship will take place at C2N at Palaiseau (91).
Quantum cascade laser integrated on Ge-based photonics circuits
Mid-infrared (mid-IR) integrated photonics (i.e. with 2µm<l<20µm) is actually a subject of increased emphasis, with a strong potential to revolutionize different application fields. As an example mid IR spectroscopy is a nearly universal way to identify chemical and biological substances, as most of the molecules have their vibrational and rotational resonances in this wavelength range. Commercially available mid-IR systems are based on bulky and expensive equipment, while lots of efforts are now devoted to the reduction of their size down to chip-scale dimensions. The demonstration of mid-IR photonic circuits on silicon chips would benefit from reliable and high-volume fabrication to offer high performance, low cost, compact, low weight and power consumption photonic circuits, which is particularly interesting for mid-IR spectroscopic sensing systems that need to be portable and low cost.
A key point for the development of applications for mid-IR integrated photonics is the coupling of mid-IR light source with photonic integrated circuits. In this context, the ANR project LIGHT UP project addresses the integration of an InAs/AlSb – based Quantum Cascade Laser (QCL) on a mid-InfraRed Germanium (Ge)-based photonics integrated circuit. The groundbreaking concept of the project is the direct growth of QCL devices on the Ge-based photonics circuit, to enable large-volume, wafer-level mid-IR photonic platform. The QCL active region and the SiGe waveguide will be specifically designed to optimize both the coupling strategy and the material properties, i.e., to preserve low optical losses and large optical gain.
In this context, the objective of the internship proposal is to work on the design of the QCL integrated on SiGe waveguide. The research activity will include:
- theoretical study and optical simulations (using commercial software) to optimize the light coupling from QCL active region to SiGe waveguide.
- definition of a fabrication process flow compatible with both the QCL and SiGe waveguide fabrication, as well as mask designs.
- experimental characterizations of passive devices developed within the group, using a unique mid-IR optical bench existing in the group
The work is done in the framework of the ANR LIGHT UP, in a strong collaboration with IES (Université de Montpellier) and L-Ness lab (Politecnico di Milano).
All-Dielectric Metamaterials for Metadevices : Negative Index and Near-Zero Index Materials
see attached file
Probing valley Hall currents in graphene
The first isolation of graphene, one atom thick layer of carbon atoms arrange in hexagons, in 2005 attracted a lot of attention given its remarkable characteristics: high carriers mobility, ambipolar behavior, great mechanical strength. Not long after this, other 2D layered materials were found to have also remarkable characteristics and host a large number of phenomena of condensed matter physics. A great technological achievement of our days is the stack of these 2D layers to form van der Waals (vdW) heterostructures [Nat. Nanotech 5, 722] and therefore combine the properties of each material to design materials with new properties [Nature 499, 419].
Contrary to conventional 2D materials, grown by molecular beam epitaxy, the layered vdW structures can be make of any combination of 2D materials, given that there are not restrictions of lattice parameter. Other degree of freedom of these heterostructures is the relative angular alignment between its layers, which can dramatically alter its fundamental properties. A remarkable example of this, predicted for certain vdW heterostructures, is the emergence of phases of matter where charge carriers flow without dissipation. In heterostructures of graphene crystallographically aligned with boron nitride (insulator isomorph to graphene), such a phase has been predicted. However, due to the scarcity of experimental tools to control the layer alignment the observations available remain inconclusive [Science 346, 448; Science adv. 4, eaaq0194].
In this experimental internship (with possibility to be extended to a PhD thesis), we propose to use a new technique to control the angular alignment between layers in a vdW heterostructure [Science 361, 690] to investigate the generation and control of electrical signals related to this phases of matter in graphene. The successful candidates will participate actively in sample fabrication (assembly of vdW heterostructures, angular control of layers using an AFM, e-beam lithography) and electronic transport measurements at low temperatures. Experience in micro and nano fabrication process is not required since the students will have the necessary training at the lab.
Analog computing with brain-inspired micropillar lasers
Artificial neural networks, which are at the heart of recent progress in analog computation and machine learning, are becoming increasingly important for our future digital societies. We propose to study coupled spiking photonic nodes in order to implement simple photonic artificial neural networks. Each node is materialized by a micropillar laser with integrated saturable absorber, whose neuromimetic properties have already been explored in the team.
In neurons, information is coded with spikes (electrical pulses) which are excited in an all-or-none fashion provided input stimuli to the neuron soma exceed a given threshold. This generic property is called excitability and has been demonstrated in micropillar lasers. Though, the optical spikes emitted by these latter are more than one millions times shorter in duration than biological action potentials. Hence, photonic neurons could in principle be interesting to build ultrafast artificial neural networks. The computing capability of optical neurons are enforced by the property of temporal summation also already demonstrated by us in micropillar lasers, and which provides universal computation capability.
The internship will consist in participating to the research lead in the group on the implementation of brain-inspired, photonic analog computing. The work consists majorily of optical experiments, with modelling and technology in the C2N clean-room.
Pulse train interaction and control in a microcavity laser with delayed optical feedback S. Terrien, B. Krauskopf, N. G. Broderick, R. Braive, G. Beaudoin, I. Sagnes, S. Barbay, Opt. Lett. 43, 3013 (2018)
Spike latency and response properties of an excitable micropillar laser F. Selmi, R. Braive, G. Beaudoin, I. Sagnes, R. Kuszelewicz, T. Erneux, S. Barbay, Phys. Rev. E 94, 042219 (2016)
Temporal summation in a neuromimetic micropillar laser F. Selmi, R. Braive, G. Beaudoin, I. Sagnes, R. Kuszelewicz, S. Barbay, Opt. Lett. 40, 5690 (2015)
Relative Refractory Period in an Excitable Semiconductor Laser F. Selmi, R. Braive, G. Beaudoin, I. Sagnes, R. Kuszelewicz, S. Barbay, Phys. Rev. Lett. 112, 183902 (2014)
F. Selmi, Thèse de doctorat, Réponse excitable et propriétés neuromimétiques de micropiliers lasers à absorbant saturable, 2015.
website : https://toniq.c2n.universite-paris-saclay.fr/fr/activites/smila/neuromimetic-photonics/