A light touch has improved a material designed to manipulate light. The development brings photonic microcircuits, which would use photons instead of electrons, closer to reality, researchers say.
To create microchips for light, many researchers have been attempting to create repetitive, crystal-like structures called photonic crystals. Now, Susuma Noda of Kyoto University in Japan and his colleagues report making photonic crystals that approach perfection. The group builds its crystals by positioning strips of semiconductor compounds in a three-dimensional stack known as a woodpile.
To end up with woodpiles that are more regular, the scientists realized they needed to reduce flaws that show up during fabrication. After examining their previous woodpiles and the methods for making them, the researchers decided on some changes. They lowered the temperature at which they fused the layers and devised a way to etch away unwanted parts of the structure more gently than befor