27 May '13, 2pm

A Glimmer of Light From Silicon

A Glimmer of Light From Silicon

Illustration by Emily Cooper Surface Plasmons Light Silicon: As great as it would be to have lasers and computer chips that are made of the same stuff, silicon is a very reluctant light emitter. But electromagnetic oscillations at the boundary of a silicon nanowire and silver—surface plasmons—can overcome this problem, engineers recently found. Getting silicon to emit light is no easy feat, but it remains the dream of many photonics engineers, who almost reflexively refer to it as “the holy grail .” Now a team of materials scientists at the University of Pennsylvania say they might have managed it. “This is the first demonstration of bulk silicon emitting light in the visible range,” says Ritesh Agarwal , head of the Nanoscale Phase-Change and Photonics group at UPenn. A silicon light emitter would be a big boon to the silicon photonics systems being developed by IBM, Inte...

Full article: http://spectrum.ieee.org/semiconductors/optoelectronics/a...

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