Photonic Device Laboratory
Optics and photonics at micrometer and nanometer scale are exciting from both fundamental and technological perspectives. At Photonic Device Laboratory (PDL) at the ECE Department, HKUST, we work on experimental research projects in optics and photonics for a wide scope of applications including optical communications and sensing.
Most of our work exploits sharp optical resonances in optical microcavities - micrometer-sized dielectric optical resonators that partially confine light wave. As sharp optical resonances and their light coupling are highly dependent on the microcavity shapes, it is often of interest to explore various novel optical microcavity designs. This is analogous to having different musical instruments of different acoustical cavities giving us different sound qualities!
In particular, we investigate planar optical microcavities and micropillar cavities that can be coupled with optical waveguides and integrated on a chip. Leveraging from the HKUST Nanosystem Fabrication Facility, we are able to fabricate optical microcavities and submicrometer-sized waveguides on silicon wafers using complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) compatible processes. Such integrated photonics on silicon, so called "Silicon Photonics", have the key merit of allowing both photonics and electronics to be integrated on a single silicon platform. We envision that silicon-based microresonators and waveguides constitute building blocks for large-scale-integrated silicon photonics chips, where information carriers are light waves that can be readily in and out-coupled to optical fibers, and on-chip fast switching can be performed electrically and/or optically.
At HKUST, we successfully demonstrated silicon-based passive and active devices including optical microcavity-based channel add-drop filters, and high-speed electro-optic modulators using p-i-n diodes embedded microdisk and microring resonators. Our various on-going research projects seek to further develop these devices and also explore new grounds.