It's a small world...
The Photonics Research Group of Ghent University-IMEC has fabricated a world map on a scale of 1 trillionth. Using CMOS fabrication tools, IMEC has reduced the 40-thousand-kilometer circumference at the equator down to 40 micrometer, about half the width of a human hair. The map is put in a corner of a optical silicon chip designed for one of the group's research projects on nanophotonic integrated circuits. The scale reduction enables more complex optical functions on a single chip for applications in telecommunication, high-speed computing, biotechnology and health-care. Noteworthy, the factor of 1 trillion corresponds to the scale prefix Tera (like in Terabyte), but in this situation it would be better to call it ‘Terra’-scale.
On the technical side
The Photonics Research Group is a 60-people strong laboratory of Ghent University (Ghent, Belgium) and is associated with the Interuniversity Microelectronics Center (IMEC), located in Leuven, Belgium. The group focuses on the research and development of smart photonic chips for future application in communications, identification, biosciences and health care, building on technologies developed for the microelectronics industry. The use of silicon and microelectronics fabrication can drastically reduce the size, power consumption and cost of photonic chips, bringing them closer to integration with consumer electronics, cell-phones as well as smart distributed sensor networks and point-of-care diagnostics.
World map design: Wim Bogaerts
P. Dumon, W. Bogaerts, A. Tchelnokov, J.-M. Fedeli, R. Baets, Silicon Nanophotonics,Future Fab International (invited), 25, p.29-36 (2008)
P. Dumon, W. Bogaerts, R. Baets, J.-M. Fedeli, L. Fulbert, Towards foundry approach for silicon photonics: silicon photonics platform ePIXfab,Electronics Letters (invited), 45(12), p.581-582 (2009)
S. Selvaraja, P. Jaenen, W. Bogaerts, P. Dumon, D. Van Thourhout, R. Baets,
Fabrication of Photonic
Wire and Crystal Circuits in Silicon-on-Insulator Using 193nm Optical
Lithography,Journal of Lightwave Technology, 27(18), p.4076-4083 (2009)
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