Indium phosphide (InP) is an incredibly versatile material. Electronic circuits based on this compound semiconductor are among the fastest currently available, operating at frequencies far exceeding 100 gigahertz (for comparison, modern PC and laptop processors typically clock at 3-4 gigahertz). In photovoltaics, InP is an essential component of ultra-high-efficiency solar cells used in space applications or concentrated solar power systems on Earth. It is mixed and stacked with various other III-V compounds.
Optoelectronics is by far the most common application for InP. InP lasers generate light for optical communication systems worldwide, including optical fiber connections and networks and free-space optical communication. InP is indebted to streaming companies, mobile communication operators, and smartphone manufacturers.
In recent years, InP has assumed more responsibilities than simply producing light. Research has paved the way for full-fledged light-based integrated circuits built on InP substrates. Originally intended for use in communication technologies, they can now enable sensor and imaging applications in automotive, healthcare, and other markets.
To create the light-based equivalent of an electronic circuit, researchers need material like indium phosphide that is capable of not only ‘conducting’ light but also of producing it, which translates into the ability to create active (as well as passive) components.