Home Energy Silicon Nanostructures Bend Light to Make Faster Photodiodes

Silicon Nanostructures Bend Light to Make Faster Photodiodes

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Image: Hilal Cansizoglu/University of California, Davis

There are some things silicon doesn’t do well. It neither absorbs nor emits light efficiently. So, silicon photonics systems, which connect racks of servers in data centers via high-data rate optical fiber links, are dependent on photodiode receivers made of germanium or other materials to turn optical signals into electronic ones. Saif Islam, professor of electrical and computer engineering at University of California Davis, and colleagues have come up with a way for silicon photodiodes to do the job, potentially driving down the cost of optical computer-to-computer communications.