• Conference Proceeding

High-speed nano-optical photodetector for free space communication


Kurtz, R. M., Alim, K. A., Pradhan, R. D., Exterkin, V., Savant, G. D., Venkatasubramanian, R., ... Balandin, A. A. (2007). High-speed nano-optical photodetector for free space communication. In [6556],Orlando, FL: .


An inexpensive, easily integrated, sensitive photoreceiver operating in the communications band with a 50-GHz bandwidth would revolutionize the free-space communication industry. While generation of 50-GHz carrier AM or FM signals is not difficult, its reception and heterodyning require specific, known technologies, generally based on silicon semiconductors. We present a 50 GHz photoreceiver that exceeds the capabilities of current devices. The proposed photoreceiver is based on a technology we call Nanodust. This new technology enables nano-optical photodetectors to be directly embedded in silicon matrices, or into CMOS reception/heterodyning circuits. Photoreceivers based on Nanodust technology can be designed to operate in any spectral region, the most important to date being the telecommunications band near 1.55 micrometers. Unlike current photodetectors that operate in this spectral region, Nanodust photodetectors can be directly integrated with standard CMOS and silicon-based circuitry. Nanodust technology lends itself well to normal-incidence signal reception, significantly increasing the reception area without compromising the bandwidth. Preliminary experiments have demonstrated a free-space responsivity of 50 µA/(W/cm2), nearly an order of magnitude greater than that offered by current 50-GHz detectors. We expect to increase the Nanodust responsivity significantly in upcoming experiments.