Tuesday, May 11, 2010

US Patent 7711213 - Nanowire array optical modulator


This patent from HP teaches an optical modulator for photonic integrated circuits in which semiconductor nanowires act as the modulator. Claim 1 reads:

1. A modulator comprising:

a waveguide configured to transmit one or more channels of electromagnetic radiation;

a first terminal and a second terminal the first terminal and the second terminal positioned on opposite sides of the waveguide; and

a number of nanowires, wherein the nanowires are randomly spaced and randomly oriented and each nanowire interconnects the first terminal to the second terminal, a portion of each nanowire is operatively coupled to the waveguide, and wherein the nanowires are configured to modulate the one or more channels when an electrical signal is applied to the first and second terminals, the electrical signal causing electro-absorption of the one or more channels at the nanowires.