Emrah Acar photo Solomon Assefa photo TYMON BARWICZ photoWilliam M. J. Green photo
 Jens Hofrichter photo Jonathan E. (Jon) Proesel photo Jessie C. Rosenberg photo Alexander V. Rylyakov photo
Yurii A. Vlasov photoChi Xiong photo

Research Areas

Additional information

2012 IEDM postdeadline paper


2012 CLEO Plenary talk


2012 IEEE Comm. Mag., Silicon Nanophotonics Beyond 100G


2011 IBM R&D Journal: Technologies for Exascale systems


2010 SEMICON Talk: CMOS Nanophotonics for Exascale


2008 ECOC Tutorial: On-Chip Si Nanophotonics

Group Name

Silicon Integrated Nanophotonics


Nanophotonics Technology Nonliner Nanophotonics Germanium Photodtector Nanophotonics Switch Optical Delay line Silicon Modulator Slow light

2010 Silicon Integrated Nanophotonics

CMOS Nanophotonics. Click to enlarge

On the 1st of December 2010 IBM research announced a new technology developed for dense integration of electrical and optical devices on a silicon chip. The technology can change the way how computer chips talk to each other - they can use pulses of light rather than electrical signals that is a potentially cheaper, faster and less power consuming approach than electrical communications via copper wires and cables. This development is announced at the major semiconductor industry conference SEMICON in Tokyo.

The CMOS Integrated Nanophotonics is a unique IBM technology developed by IBM Research to integrate monolithically both the electrical circuits and optical circuits on the same silicon chip on the front-end of the standard CMOS line. Silicon transistors share the same silicon layer with silicon nanophotonics devices that are used for transporting light signals across the chip. Over several years IBM Research has developed a whole library of such front-end integrated ultra-compact active and passive silicon nanophotonics devices that are all scaled down to the diffraction limit – the smallest size that dielectric optics can afford.

Further reading
The results of this research and all corresponding information are summarized on a special webpage CMOS Integrated Nanophotonics

IBM press release December 1, 2010
"Made in IBM Labs: New Chip Technology Lights the Path to Exascale Computing"

2010 Optical Parametric Amplification on a chip

 Optical Parametric Amplifier. Click to enlarge

On the 30th of July 2010 IBM scientists unveiled a mid-infrared (mid-IR) optical parametric amplifier, which has been designed and built using ultra-compact silicon nanophotonic waveguides. The results of this work are described in a paper published in the journal Nature Photonics. An amplifier of this type can be applied to boost the intensity of very weak information-carrying optical signals. However, unlike the glass-fiber-based optical amplifiers which are commonly used in today’s near-IR fiber optic telecommunication systems, IBM’s new amplifier is constructed using chip-scale ultra-compact silicon nanophotonic waveguides. The silicon amplifier is specifically designed to operate at longer wavelengths in the mid-IR spectrum, and can boost signals over a broad wavelength range from 2050-2250 nm, to as much as 400-times their original strength.

Further reading
The results of this research and all corresponding information are summarized on a special webpage On-chip Optical Parametric Amplifier

2009 Nanophotonic Germanium Photodetector

 Nanophotonic Ge Photodetector. Click to enlarge

On the 4th of March 2010 IBM Research announced the development of an ultra-high speed, ultra-low power avalanche photodetector which converts faint optical signals into electrical signals. This device is a significant step towards replacing copper wires between the computer chips with tiny silicon circuits that can communicate via pulses of light rather than electrical signals. It is the world’s fastest device capable of receiving optical information signals at 40Gbps (40 billion bits per second) while simultaneously multiply them tenfold. Moreover the device operates with just a 1.5V voltage supply, which is 20 times smaller than previous demonstrations. The IBM device is made of Silicon and Germanium, the materials already widely used in production of microprocessor chips. Moreover it is fabricated using standard processes used in chip manufacturing. Thus, thousands of these devices can be built side-by-side with silicon transistors for high-bandwidth optical communications.

Further reading
The results of this research and all corresponding information are summarized on a special webpage Nanophotonic Germanium Avalanche Photodetector

IBM press release 3 March 2010
"IBM Researchers Create Ultra-Fast Device Which Uses Light for Communication between Computer Chips"

2008 High-throughput Nanophotonic Switch

 Nanophotonic Switch. Click to enlarge

IBM scientists today took another significant advance towards sending information inside a computer chip by using light pulses instead of electrons by building the world’s tiniest nanophotonic switch with a footprint about 100X smaller than the cross section of a human hair. As many as 2000 would fit side-by-side in an area of one square millimeter making it possible to integrate thousands of them on a single chip, as would be required for future multi-core processors. The switch is an important building block to control the flow of information inside future chips and can significantly speed up the chip performance while using much less energy.

This research is published in the volume 2 of the scientific journal Nature Photonics on April 1, 2008

Further reading
The results of this research and all corresponding information are summarized on a special webpage High-throughput Nanophotonic Switch

IBM press release 17 March 2008
"IBM Researchers Develop World’s Tiniest Nanophotonic Switch to route optical data between cores in future computer chips"

2007 Low-power ultra-compact 10Gbps silicon modulator

 IBM Optical modulator. Click to enlarge

IBM have built an ultra-compact and low-power silicon optical modulator, which performs the task of converting an electrical input signals into pulses of light. This device is a critical component in our work toward wiring a chip with light rather than copper wires. The modulator is capable of transmitting optical data at a rate of 10 billion bits per second (10 Giga bits per second).

This research is published in the volume 15 of the scientific journal Optics Express on December 5, 2007

Further reading
The results of this research and all corresponding information are summarized on a special webpage Low power ultra-compact silicon modulator

IBM press release 06 December 2007
"New IBM Research Technology Could Enable Today's Massive Supercomputers to be Tomorrow's Tiny Computer Chips"

2006 Compact optical buffer with micro-ring resonators

 Nature Photonics cover story. Click to enlarge

IBM have built the all-optical buffer device capable of efficiently delaying 10 bits of 20 Giga bits per second optical signals within 0.03mm2 footprint on a silicon chip.

This research is published in the premier issue of the scientific journal Nature Photonicson January 1, 2007.

Further reading
The results of this research and all corresponding information are summarized on a special webpage Compact optical buffer with ring resonators

IBM press release 22 December 2006
"IBM Milestone Demonstrates Optical Device to Advance Computer Performance"

2005 Active Control of Slow Light on a Chip

 Nature cover story. Click to enlarge

IBM researchers have demonstrated an integrated nanophotonic circuit fabricated on a silicon chip that can significantly slow down and actively control the speed of light.

This research is published in the volume 438 of the scientific journal Nature on November 3, 2005

Further reading
The results of this research and all corresponding information are summarized on a special webpage Slow light on a chip

IBM press release 03 November 2005
"IBM Scientists Harness "Slow Light'' for Optical Communications"