Technology and Fabrication

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CTI project: Optical Sensor

The scope of this project is to develop a miniature optical sensor. We apply photonic technologies pioneered at our institute to create next-generation sensing concepts. Our goal is to use photonics to develop radically integrated sensing concepts, which can be used in a variety of contexts, e.g. in biological and chemical environments.

Coordinator: Prof. Juerg Leuthold, ETH Zurich

Project Manager: Alexander Lochbaum, ETH Zurich

Project number: 19067.1

Timeframe: 10/2016 - 10/2019


ETH project: Atomic Scale Photonic Switch

The project suggests the development of a new gate controlled atomic scale plasmonic-switch platform. The proposal builds on a recent experiment by the authors, where they found an impressive digital switching when electrically relocating a single (or at least few) atom(s) in a plasmonic wire waveguide. Initial experiments have shown a reproducible and reliable operation for days. The structure is CMOS compatible and is derived from a standard memrestive structure such as known for electronics. The discovery allows for the first time to scale down optical switches with an extraordinary performance to dimensions way below 1 µm2 – and thus bringing photonics much closer to the electronic scale. This project proposes to continue an existing research effort, which has the potential to initiate a paradigm-shift in photonics: the suggested structures are orders of magnitude smaller than what is known in optics with a power consumption at the fJ level for a single switch operation.

Coordinator: Prof. Juerg Leuthold, ETH Zurich

Project Manager: Alexandros Emboras, ETH Zurich

Project number: ETH-35 15-2

Timeframe: 04/2016 - 03/2019


ETH project: : Mid-Infrared Quantum Emitter
Ultra-compact, Low-cost, and CMOS-Compatible Sources in the Mid-Infrared

In this project, we explore novel approaches for the realization of CMOS-compatible quantum emitters in the mid-infrared (mid-IR) spectral window. The mid-IR spectral window from 3 μm to 5 μm is of fundamental interest for various applications in the fields of environmental sensing, health sciences, material sciences and physics. The project aims to make mid-IR applications accessible to the CMOS industry. This would have a considerable impact on many industries, where so far high-end solutions for mid-IR emitters, e.g. those based on quantum cascade lasers, are not commercially viable for large-scale applications. The quest for a compact and CMOS-compatible mid-IR source is addressed by considering multiple new and promising approaches. The strength of two institutes at ETH, the Institute for Integrated Systems (Prof. Wood) bringing an expertise in colloidal quantum dots (CQDs), and the Institute of Electromagnetic Fields (Prof. Leuthold), bringing an expertise in CMOS photonics devices fabrication, are combined to build novel light emitter in the mid-IR.

Coordinator: Prof. Juerg Leuthold, ETH Zurich

Project Manager: Alexander Lochbaum, ETH Zurich

Project number: ETH-45 14-2

Timeframe: 03/2015 - 08/2018


EU project: PLASMOfab, a generic CMOS-compatible platform for co-integrated plasmonics/photonics/electronics PICs towards volume manufacturing of low energy, small size and high performance photonic devices.

PLASMOfab aims to address the ever increasing needs for low energy, small size, high complexity and high performance mass manufactured PICs by developing a revolutionary yet CMOS-compatible fabrication platform for seamless co-integration of active plasmonics with photonic and supporting electronic. The CMOS-compatible metals Aluminum, Titanium Nitride and Copper, will be thoroughly investigated towards establishing a pool of meaningful elementary plasmonic waveguides on co-planar photonic (Si, SiO2 and SiN) platforms along with the associated photonicplasmonic interfaces. The functional advantages of PLASMOfab technology will be practically demonstrated by developing two novel functional prototypes with outstanding performances: 1) a compact, plasmonic bio-sensor for label-free inflammation markers detection with multichannel capabilities and record-high sensitivity by combining plasmonic sensors with electrical contacts, Si3N4 photonics, high-speed biofunctionalization techniques and microfluidics 2) a 100 Gb/s NRZ transmitter for datacom applications by consolidating low energy and low footprint plasmonic modulator and ultra high-speed SiGe driving electronics in a single monolithic chip. The new integration technology will be verified through waferscale fabrication of the prototypes at commercial CMOS fabs, demonstrating volume manufacturing and cost reduction capabilities. PLASMOfab technology will be supported by an EDA software design kit library paving the way for a standardized, fabless plasmonic/photonic IC eco-system.

Coordinator: Prof. Nikos Pleros, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki

Project Manager: Claudia Hoessbacher 

Project number: 688166, Call H2020-ICT 2015 (Horizon 2020)

Timeframe: 1/2016 - 12/2018


Plasmonic -Silicon-Organic Hybrid - a Universal Platform for THz Communications

The PLASILOR project brings together the fields of silicon photonics, organic materials and plasmonics. The aim is the development of a novel plasmonic silicon-organic-hybrid platform that meets the performance expectations for next generation devices, leveraging at once the large-scale integration and low-cost characteristics of silicon, the processing functionalities offered by organic materials and the ultra-compact size and ultra-high speed of plasmonic devices. The outcome will enable the creation of disruptive technologies for next-generation THz communications and applications, including biosensing, imaging, spectroscopy, high-speed chip-to-chip communications, and more. See also the project website.

Coordinator: Prof. Juerg Leuthold, ETH Zürich

Project Manager: Dr. Maurizio Burla, ETH Zürich

Project number: 670478

Timeframe: 11/2015 - 10/2020



SNF project: PADOMO
Plasmonic Active Devices based on Metal Oxides

The PADOMO project aims to develop innovative active photonic devices by properly integrating high quality materials providing large nonlinear effects. It is expected that the outcome of the project achieves significant technological advancements against state-of-the-art nonlinear device designs, with respect to the energy consumption, device speed, thermal stability, device size, and current technology compatibility. The project holds the promise to pave the way to a high-impact real-world-driven technology for active photonic devices. See also the project website.

Coordinator: Prof. Juerg Leuthold, ETH Zürich

Project Manager: Dr. Ping Ma, ETH Zürich

Project Number: IZCJZ0-158197

Timeframe: 09/2015 - 08/2018


SNF project: precoR
On-chip coherent light sources based on nonlinear frequency conversion in thin organic two-dimensional crystals

This project aims at the on-chip generation of signals by means of nonlinear frequency conversion employing novel thin nonlinear polymer/monomer materials incorporated into strong-confinement low-loss plasmonic waveguide structures. The new ultra-compact coherent light source holds promise to cover a broad range of frequencies spanning from the ultra-violet to the far infrared and will allow to access spectral regions which are not attainable with the currently available conventional lasers.

Coordinator: Prof. Dr. A. Dieter Schlüter, Institute of Polymers, ETH Zürich

Timeframe: 08/2014 - 08/2017


EU-Japan project: FF-Photon
Functional Thin-Film Ferroelectric Materials for CMOS Compatible Photonics

The FF-Photon project investigates the light-matter interaction of epi-grown thin-film ferroelectric materials and develops the related manufacturing and characterization technologies. As an outcome of the project we envision a deep and comprehensive understanding of the photo-responsive process of ferroelectric thin-films and the establishment of a platform for CMOS compatible ferroelectric thin-films and enabled innovative optical devices. See also the project website

Coordinator: Prof. Juerg Leuthold, ETH Zürich

Project Manager: Dr. Ping Ma, ETH Zürich

Project Number: 200021_159565

Timeframe: 10/2014 - 03/2017


Nano Scale Disruptive Silicon-Plasmonic Platform for Chip-to-Chip Interconnection

NAVOLCHI explores a novel nano-scale plasmonic chip-to-chip and system-in-package interconnection platform to overcome the bandwidth, foot-print and power consumption limitations of today's electrical and optical interconnect solutions. NAVOLCHI will be a significant resource of know-how on the plasmonic modulators domain and relating materials. See also the project website.

Coordinator: Prof. Dr. Manfred Kohl, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

Former Coordinator: Prof. Juerg Leuthold

Project Manager: Claudia Hoessbacher

Timeframe: 11/2011 - 10/2014

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