III-V laser diodes on germanium substrates

Available For: Licensing and joint development


The Photonics Research Group at UCL have recently developed and demonstrated a monolithically integrated III-V compound semiconductor photonic structure on a Silicon substrate. The monolithic III-V on Silicon device opens up new possibilities for integrated system-on-a-chip designs with high bandwidth and high data transfer rates.

The Technology and Its Advantages

The desire to achieve ever-greater performance from electronic devices and circuitry is driving the development of faster interconnects between microelectronic devices and/or core electronic components. Electrical (copper) interconnects currently used to route electrical signals are reaching their physical limit in terms of dimensions, power requirements and heat dissipation. Optical based interconnect structures are now being considered to reduce device form factor and power requirements enabling smaller, faster and energy efficient devices. At the core of the optical approach is Silicon Photonics, the integration of silicon circuits and photonic light emitters to produce an optical interconnect network which facilitate the larger data rates envisaged in future electronic devices.

The development of optical interconnects has so far focused on hybrid device structures where lasers are bonded onto a silicon substrate to create an optoelectronic device. However, the UCL Photonics Research Group have developed a novel method to implement direct optical signaling between core electronic components and devices.

The UCL method allows monolithic integration of the two technologies in which the light emitting structure is fabricated on the silicon substrate and directly connected to the various components through a network of optical waveguides and thus the need for either external modulation or input is removed. The research enables a paradigm shift in optoelectronics and semiconductor fabrication and will provide the basis for the next generation of microelectronic devices.

Using the novel fabrication method the UCL Photonics Research Group have developed a silicon photonic laser emitter, operating at 1300nm.

Market Opportunity

The monolithic integration of photonic and silicon elements is at the focus of intense research pursued by both the optoelectronic and semiconductor industries. The laser on silicon devices can be used for chip to chip, board to board and short haul communications. In addition the fabrication method is suitable for producing compact photodetectors and sensors. Applications currently considered are in telecommunications and computing sectors, as well as in sensors such as biosensors and photovoltaics and solar cells.

Intellectual Property

The technology encompasses a IP around fabrication methods and related devices. One patent application is currently in national phase, whereas a complementary application is in PCT stage.

Further Information

Please contact Dr Vassilios Albanis, Business Manager | T: +44 (0) 20 7679 9000 | E: v.albanis@uclb.com