Light sources emitting a broad range of colours are very promising for, amongst others, glucose monitoring and environmental gas sensing. But nowadays there is a lack of compact light sources generating broadband light in the mid-infrared domain. One possible approach to develop such a source is by combining compact waveguides on a chip with a strongly nonlinear optical material such as graphene, i.e. a monolayer of carbon atoms which was isolated for the first time in 2004.
In the frame of the EU-funded GRAPHENICS project, early-career researchers from Belgium, Poland, Austria and Canada recently succeeded in demonstrating spectral broadening of mid-infrared light in graphene-covered silicon waveguides on a chip, and in addition developed a novel small-sized mid-infrared fibre laser to pump the waveguides.
While working towards this goal, the GRAPHENICS researchers also acquired disruptive new insights in the nonlinear optical properties of graphene. Over the past few weeks project coordinator Nathalie Vermeulen from B-PHOT Brussels Photonics has been presenting these findings in invited talks at the EMN conference in Budapest, at the Solvay workshop in Brussels, and at the European Commission (see picture). The obtained results lay the foundations for graphene-on-silicon-based broadband light sources and for graphene-covered nonlinear photonic integrated circuits in general.
Read more about how graphene helps shift the paradigm for nonlinear photonic integrated circuits and the GRAPHENICS project
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