Next-generation on-chip supercontinuum light sources based on graphene-enabled extreme nonlinear optics
Start date: Oct 1, 2013,
End date: Sep 30, 2018
"With this ERC project I want to induce a paradigm shift in the development of integrated nonlinear optical devices. Nonlinear optics, the scientific discipline in which nonlinear light-matter interactions are studied, has been a very active area of research ever since the invention of the laser in 1960. Although this scientific branch has great application potential when implemented in on-chip optical waveguides, its promise for the development of widely usable integrated optical devices has not yet been fulfilled. The state-of-the-art of integrated nonlinear optical devices indeed does not comply with the requirements for widespread deployment as these devices rely on non-standard waveguide designs, large on-chip foot prints and/or impractical pump lasers.Therefore, I propose in this project to eliminate the issues of the state-of-the-art devices by introducing novel material and device physics. More specifically, my goal is to exploit extreme, but practically unexplored, nonlinear optical properties of graphene-covered silicon waveguides to develop next-generation near-infrared-pumped nonlinear supercontinuum light sources. These will truly be “next-generation” sources as they will rely on standard waveguide design, ultra-compact foot prints and practical near-infrared pump lasers, while exhibiting unprecedented performances. The concrete objectives of my project are to theoretically study, model, fabricate and experimentally demonstrate three novel graphene-on-silicon-based nonlinear optical devices that rely on three different nonlinear optical effects, and the on-chip cascading of these novel devices to create the targeted “next-generation” near-infrared-pumped supercontinuum sources with up to four emission bands. Based on my theoretical and experimental research experience with nonlinearities in waveguides and my preliminary modeling results supporting the feasibility of these objectives, I believe that, with this ERC starting grant, I will be able to carry out this original “high-gain/high-risk” project. By doing so, I will introduce a paradigm shift in the development of integrated nonlinear optical devices enabling them to fulfill their long-awaited promise, and at the same time initiate a new era in the research on graphene and its nonlinear optical applications."
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