According to world-leading scientists, super-thin lithium niobate chips made from lithium niobate are set to overtake silicon chips in light-based technologies, with potential applications ranging from remote ripening-fruit detection on Earth to lunar navigation. They claim that artificial crystal is the best platform for these technologies because of its superior performance and recent advances in manufacturing capabilities.
Because GPS technology cannot be used on the Moon, navigation systems in lunar rovers must use an alternative system, which is where the team’s innovation comes in. The lithium-niobate chip can measure movement without needing external signals by detecting tiny changes in laser light.
While the lunar navigation device was still in the early stages of development, researchers said that the technology was mature enough to be used in space applications. It is also adaptable enough to adapt to almost any light-based application quickly.
Lithium niobate is an artificial crystal with novel photonic applications because, unlike other materials, it can generate and manipulate electromagnetic waves across the entire light spectrum, from microwave to UV frequencies. On a semiconductor wafer, a layer of lithium niobate 1,000 times thinner than a human hair is applied. Photonic circuits tailored to the chip’s intended use are printed into the layer of lithium niobate. A fingernail-sized chip may contain hundreds of different circuits.
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