Sunday, August 8, 2010

EU's BIANCHO Project Targets Energy Efficient Photonic Components

A three year research and development initiative known as the BIANCHO project (BIsmide And Nitride Components for High temperature Operation) is seeking to develop radically more energy-efficient photonic components.

The project, which has the financial backing of the EU Framework 7 programme, will develop new semiconductor materials to allow lasers and other photonic components to become more energy efficient and also more tolerant of high operating temperatures.

The researchers note that current photonic components have major intrinsic losses, with around 80% of the electrical power used by a laser chip being emitted as waste heat, for example. The presence of this waste heat necessitates the use of thermo-electric coolers and an air-conditioned environment in order to control the device temperature, cascading the energy requirements by more than an order of magnitude.

The project brings together five leading European partners with complementary expertise in epitaxy, structural characterization of materials, device physics, band structure modelling, advanced device fabrication, packaging and commercialisation. The Tyndall National Institute (Ireland) is coordinating the initiative. Other academic partners are Philipps Universitaet Marburg (Germany), Semiconductor Research Institute (Lithuania), the University of Surrey (UK). Commercialization of the project results will be led by CIP Technologies (UK).

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