Forschungs- & Entwicklungsinformationsdienst der Gemeinschaft - CORDIS

Silicon technology to fabricate optoelectronic devices

The project concerns the use of mature and low cost silicon technology to fabricate optoelectronic devices for application in communication technology. In the first phase of the project, light emitting silicon diodes (using rare-earth doping of silicon), optical amplifiers (using erbium-doped thin films) and MSM detectors using very large scale integration (VLSI) compatible silicon technology have been fabricated. In the second phase of the project the performances of the different optical functions will be optimized and their integration with electronic functions in a single chip will be performed.

Silicon is the leading semiconductor in the electronic arena. Its inability to emit photons, as a consequence of its indirect band gap, severely hamper its capability to perform in the increasingly important field of optocommunication. In the first phase we fabricated efficient light emitting diodes (LED) using silicon codoped with erbium and oxygen and operating at room temperature, erbium-doped integrated optical amplifiers exhibiting net gain, and silicon MSM detectors having a very fast response. The obtained results clearly indicate that the integration of optical functions, comprising light emitting diodes, wave-guides and detectors can be achieved with a good efficiency. The integration of optical functions in silicon will allow one to take advantages of the new materials and technologies introduced for the next generation of silicon integrated circuits and to use the well-established and low cost silicon processing technology.

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Stradale Primosole 50
95100 Catania
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