Fabless Approach To Embed Active Nanophotonics in Bulk CMOS By Co-Designing The BEOL Layers For Optical Functionality (MIT)


A technical paper titled “Metal-Optic Nanophotonic Modulators in Standard CMOS Technology” was published by researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


“Integrating nanophotonics with electronics promises revolutionary applications ranging from light detection and ranging (LiDAR) to holographic displays. Although semiconductor manufacturing of nanophotonics in Silicon Photonic foundries is maturing, realizing active nanophotonics in the ubiquitous bulk CMOS processes remains challenging. We introduce a fabless approach to embed active nanophotonics in bulk CMOS by co-designing the back-end-of-line metal layers for optical functionality. Without changing any of the design rules imposed by a 65 nm CMOS process, we realize plasmonic liquid crystal modulators that exhibit switching speeds 100 times faster than commercial technologies. Our approach, which embeds ‘zero-change’ nanophotonics into the most ubiquitous platform for integrated electronics, democratizes fabrication of metal-optic nanophotonics, opens the path to mass production of active nanophotonic components, and overcomes major packaging challenges that have previously hindered the realization of complex metal-optic optoelectronic systems.”

Find the technical paper here. Published October 2023 (preprint).

Mohamed ElKabbash, Sivan Trajtenberg-Mills, Isaac Harris, Saumil Bandyopadhyay, Mohamed I Ibrahim, Archer Wang, Xibi Chen, Cole Brabec, Hasan Z. Yildiz, Ruonan Han, Dirk Englund. “Metal-Optic Nanophotonic Modulators in Standard CMOS Technology.” arXiv:2310.04409v1

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