Nanophotonics poised to impact consumer and computing apps

Mar. 20, 2007 — According to David Huff, Vice President of Marketing and Business Development for the Optoelectronics Industry Development Association, emerging nanophotonics technologies offer the potential to greatly expand the use of optoelectronics in consumer and computing applications. Huff delivered this message during his keynote address at the Nano-Giga Challenges 2007 Conference at Arizona State University. The conference addressed developments in nanotechnology as it applies to electronics, optics, sensors, chemical, thermal, and bio-medical applications.

“When you engineer light and materials at the quantum level, you can shake the bounds of classical optics and physics,” said Huff. “By enabling the development of high bandwidth, high-speed and ultra-small optoelectronics components, nanophotonics is allowing us to change the realm of the possible.”

Huff discussed markets for nanophotonic technology, led by consumer and computer applications; key advances, such as nanowaveguides, that may offer new life to existing silicon photonics applications; and new quantum effect devices, such as light ‘freezing’, which will offer unique optical processing capabilities that cannot be implemented with any technology today.

Despite the fact that silicon fabrication techniques can be applied, the assembly of these devices is still quite expensive, Huff said. Defects in the devices must be addressed to fix loss and performance issues, and less expensive techniques must be developed for device integration and interfaces. “Nanophotonics offers many more capabilities than I was able to address in my talk, including sensor, bio-medical, optical refrigeration, displays, and solar energy,” explained Huff. “It will be fascinating to see which applications pan out in the market.”


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