Project A4 aims at exploring novel concepts, modeling methods, and fabrication technologies for nanophotonic devices. Such devices enable dense integration of complex functionalities that have become absolutely indispensable in many applications: High-capacity information and communication systems heavily rely on scalable nanophotonic transmitter and receiver systems. Integrated photonic biosensors enable highly parallel detection on the few-molecule level in microliter sample volumes. Few-photon emission and detection might form the foundation of future quantum information processing systems.
A Wide Variety of Material Systems: Organic, Semiconductor and Metallic Nanostructures
Nanophotonic integration requires a broad spectrum of different materials: Inorganic semiconductors are used for ultracompact waveguides and passive devices Quantum-dot structures provide additional degrees of freedom in tailoring optical gain spectra for active devices. Organic materials offer enormous flexibility in designing both optical material properties and device structures and enable integration of photonic devices in microfluidic systems. Metallic nanostructures are the basis of plasmonic devices with dimensions far smaller than the wavelength of light.
Project A4 exploits the strengths of all these material systems for nanophotonic integration: Subproject A4.2 aims at nanostructured organic photodetectors. Semiconductor optical amplifiers based on quantum-dot materials are investigated in subproject A4.4 and combined with high-index-contrast passive devices. Subproject A4.5 explores the combination of nitrides with nanophotonic silicon-on-insulator waveguides to provide nonlinear-optic functionalities. Novel nanofabrication tools such as nanolithography techniques and bottom-up approaches for metal nanowire and molecular self-assembly are investigated in subproject A4.6.