Conventional lithium niobite modulators, the longtime workhorse of the optoelectronic industry, may soon go the way of the vacuum tube and floppy disc.

Researchers from the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences have developed a new method to fabricate and design integrated, on-chip modulators 100 times smaller and 20 times more efficient than current lithium niobite (LN) modulators.

"This research demonstrates a fundamental technological breakthrough in integrated photonics," said Marko Loncar, the Tiantsai Lin Professor of Electrical Engineering at SEAS and senior author of the paper.

"Our platform could lead to large-scale, very fast and ultra-low-loss photonic circuits, enabling a wide range of applications for future quantum and classical photonic communication and computation."

Harvard's Office of Technology Development (OTD) has worked closely with the Loncar Lab on the formation of a startup company, HyperLight, that intends to commercialize a portfolio of foundational intellectual property related to this research.

Readying the technology toward the launch of HyperLight has been aided by funding from OTD's Physical Sciences & Engineering Accelerator, which provides translational funding for research projects that show potential for significant commercial impact.

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