3D lightwave circuits

Advances in miniaturisation science and engineering have revolutionised micro-electronics, the impact of which influences all members of society in a tangible manner.

Examples include the way we communicate and interact via our multi-functional smart phones, improved quality of life through state-of-the-art medical implants, and sensing technology that improves the efficiency of our transportation networks, to name but a few.

In a similar fashion, the related field of micro-photonics, which uses photons and lightwaves in contrast to the electrons and electric fields used above, is also undergoing rapid change, although in a form that is less apparent to the general public but no less important.

Indeed, micro-photonics forms the backbone of the internet, and the continual demand for bigger, faster and green data creates new challenges that will require new approaches to fabrication at the microscopic scale.

Researchers at Macquarie University are rising to those challenges by developing a new fabrication platform that can enable a unique class of three-dimensional lightwave circuits.

In particular, they have developed a scalable approach that uses ultrashort laser pulses to locally write optical wires, in 3D, inside a range of glass types. The sophisticated devices created with this technology are already being tested in next generation astronomical, bio-medical and quantum logic systems.

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