skip to main content

Title: Nanobenders as efficient piezoelectric actuators for widely tunable nanophotonics at CMOS-level voltages
Abstract

Tuning and reconfiguring of nanophotonic components are needed to realize systems incorporating many components. The electrostatic force can deform a structure and tune its optical response. Despite the success of electrostatic actuators, they suffer from trade-offs between tuning voltage, tuning range, and on-chip area. Piezoelectric actuation could resolve these challenges, but only pm-per-volt scale wavelength tunability has been achieved. Here we propose and demonstrate compact piezoelectric actuators, called nanobenders, that transduce tens of nanometers per volt. By leveraging the non-uniform electric field from submicron electrodes, we generate bending of a piezoelectric nanobeam. Combined with a sliced photonic crystal cavity to sense displacement, we show tuning of an optical resonance by ~ 5 nm V−1 (0.6 THz V−1) and between 1520 ~ 1560 nm (~ 400 linewidths) within 4 V. Finally, we consider tunable nanophotonic components enabled by the nanobenders.

Authors:
; ; ; ; ;
Award ID(s):
1708734 1808100
Publication Date:
NSF-PAR ID:
10190490
Journal Name:
Communications Physics
Volume:
3
Issue:
1
ISSN:
2399-3650
Publisher:
Nature Publishing Group
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract

    We present a proof of concept for a spectrally selective thermal mid-IR source based on nanopatterned graphene (NPG) with a typical mobility of CVD-grown graphene (up to 3000$$\hbox {cm}^2\,\hbox {V}^{-1}\,\hbox {s}^{-1}$$cm2V-1s-1), ensuring scalability to large areas. For that, we solve the electrostatic problem of a conducting hyperboloid with an elliptical wormhole in the presence of anin-planeelectric field. The localized surface plasmons (LSPs) on the NPG sheet, partially hybridized with graphene phonons and surface phonons of the neighboring materials, allow for the control and tuning of the thermal emission spectrum in the wavelength regime from$$\lambda =3$$λ=3to 12$$\upmu$$μm by adjusting the size of and distance between the circular holes in a hexagonal or square lattice structure. Most importantly, the LSPs along with an optical cavity increase the emittance of graphene from about 2.3% for pristine graphene to 80% for NPG, thereby outperforming state-of-the-art pristine graphene light sources operating in the near-infrared by at least a factor of 100. According to our COMSOL calculations, a maximum emission power per area of$$11\times 10^3$$11×103W/$$\hbox {m}^2$$m2at$$T=2000$$T=2000K for a bias voltage of$$V=23$$V=23V is achieved by controlling the temperature of the hot electrons through the Joule heating. By generalizing Planck’s theory to any grey body and derivingmore »the completely general nonlocal fluctuation-dissipation theorem with nonlocal response of surface plasmons in the random phase approximation, we show that the coherence length of the graphene plasmons and the thermally emitted photons can be as large as 13$$\upmu$$μm and 150$$\upmu$$μm, respectively, providing the opportunity to create phased arrays made of nanoantennas represented by the holes in NPG. The spatial phase variation of the coherence allows for beamsteering of the thermal emission in the range between$$12^\circ$$12and$$80^\circ$$80by tuning the Fermi energy between$$E_F=1.0$$EF=1.0eV and$$E_F=0.25$$EF=0.25eV through the gate voltage. Our analysis of the nonlocal hydrodynamic response leads to the conjecture that the diffusion length and viscosity in graphene are frequency-dependent. Using finite-difference time domain calculations, coupled mode theory, and RPA, we develop the model of a mid-IR light source based on NPG, which will pave the way to graphene-based optical mid-IR communication, mid-IR color displays, mid-IR spectroscopy, and virus detection.

    « less
  2. High-performance piezoelectric materials are critical components for electromechanical sensors and actuators. For more than 60 years, the main strategy for obtaining large piezoelectric response has been to construct multiphase boundaries, where nanoscale domains with local structural and polar heterogeneity are formed, by tuning complex chemical compositions. We used a different strategy to emulate such local heterogeneity by forming nanopillar regions in perovskite oxide thin films. We obtained a giant effective piezoelectric coefficient d 33 , f * of ~1098 picometers per volt with a high Curie temperature of ~450°C. Our lead-free composition of sodium-deficient sodium niobate contains only three elements (Na, Nb, and O). The formation of local heterogeneity with nanopillars in the perovskite structure could be the basis for a general approach to designing and optimizing various functional materials.
  3. Modulation-based control and locking of lasers, filters and other photonic components is a ubiquitous function across many applications that span the visible to infrared (IR), including atomic, molecular and optical (AMO), quantum sciences, fiber communications, metrology, and microwave photonics. Today, modulators used to realize these control functions consist of high-power bulk-optic components for tuning, sideband modulation, and phase and frequency shifting, while providing low optical insertion loss and operation from DC to 10s of MHz. In order to reduce the size, weight and cost of these applications and improve their scalability and reliability, modulation control functions need to be implemented in a low loss, wafer-scale CMOS-compatible photonic integration platform. The silicon nitride integration platform has been successful at realizing extremely low waveguide losses across the visible to infrared and components including high performance lasers, filters, resonators, stabilization cavities, and optical frequency combs. Yet, progress towards implementing low loss, low power modulators in the silicon nitride platform, while maintaining wafer-scale process compatibility has been limited. Here we report a significant advance in integration of a piezo-electric (PZT, lead zirconate titanate) actuated micro-ring modulation in a fully-planar, wafer-scale silicon nitride platform, that maintains low optical loss (0.03 dB/cm in a 625 µmmore »resonator) at 1550 nm, with an order of magnitude increase in bandwidth (DC - 15 MHz 3-dB and DC - 25 MHz 6-dB) and order of magnitude lower power consumption of 20 nW improvement over prior PZT modulators. The modulator provides a >14 dB extinction ratio (ER) and 7.1 million quality-factor (Q) over the entire 4 GHz tuning range, a tuning efficiency of 162 MHz/V, and delivers the linearity required for control applications with 65.1 dB·Hz2/3and 73.8 dB·Hz2/3third-order intermodulation distortion (IMD3) spurious free dynamic range (SFDR) at 1 MHz and 10 MHz respectively. We demonstrate two control applications, laser stabilization in a Pound-Drever Hall (PDH) lock loop, reducing laser frequency noise by 40 dB, and as a laser carrier tracking filter. This PZT modulator design can be extended to the visible in the ultra-low loss silicon nitride platform with minor waveguide design changes. This integration of PZT modulation in the ultra-low loss silicon nitride waveguide platform enables modulator control functions in a wide range of visible to IR applications such as atomic and molecular transition locking for cooling, trapping and probing, controllable optical frequency combs, low-power external cavity tunable lasers, quantum computers, sensors and communications, atomic clocks, and tunable ultra-low linewidth lasers and ultra-low phase noise microwave synthesizers.

    « less
  4. Abstract

    This work presents a new class of micromachined electrostatic actuators capable of producing output force and displacement unprecedented for MEMS electrostatic actuators. The actuators feature submicron high aspect ratio transduction gaps lined up in two-dimensional arrays. Such an arrangement of microscale actuator cells allows the addition of force and displacements of a large number of cells (up to 7600 in one demonstrated array), leading to displacements ranging in the hundreds of microns and several gram forces of axial force. For 50 µm thick actuators with horizontal dimensions in the 1–4 millimeter range, an out-of-plane displacement of up to 678 µm at 46 V, a bending moment of up to 2.0 µNm, i.e., 0.08 N (~8 gram-force) of axial force over a 50 µm by 2 mm cross-sectional area of the actuator (800 kPa of electrostatically generated stress), and an energy density (mechanical work output per stroke per volume) up to 1.42 mJ/cm3was demonstrated for the actuators.

  5. Abstract

    Miniature lenses with a tunable focus are essential components for many modern applications involving compact optical systems. While several tunable lenses have been reported with various tuning mechanisms, they often face challenges with respect to power consumption, tuning speed, fabrication cost, or production scalability. In this work, we have adapted the mechanism of an Alvarez lens – a varifocal composite lens in which lateral shifts of two optical elements with cubic phase surfaces give rise to a change in the optical power – to construct a miniature, microelectromechanical system (MEMS)-actuated metasurface Alvarez lens. Implementation based on an electrostatic MEMS generates fast and controllable actuation with low power consumption. The utilization of metasurfaces – ultrathin and subwavelength-patterned diffractive optics – as optical elements greatly reduces the device volume compared to systems using conventional freeform lenses. The entire MEMS Alvarez metalens is fully compatible with modern semiconductor fabrication technologies, granting it the potential to be mass-produced at a low unit cost. In the reported prototype operating at 1550 nm wavelength, a total uniaxial displacement of 6.3 µm was achieved in the Alvarez metalens with a direct-current (DC) voltage application up to 20 V, which modulated the focal position within a total tuning range ofmore »68 µm, producing more than an order of magnitude change in the focal length and a 1460-diopter change in the optical power. The MEMS Alvarez metalens has a robust design that can potentially generate a much larger tuning range without substantially increasing the device volume or energy consumption, making it desirable for a wide range of imaging and display applications.

    « less