Lithium Tantalate PICs: A Cost-Effective Alternative For High-Performance Optics

Researchers introduce Lithium Tantalate (LiTaO3) as a promising material for photonic integrated circuits (PICs) for volume manufacturing. PICs are miniaturized circuits that integrate various optical functions onto a single chip. They are increasingly important for various applications, including optical communications, biosensing, and quantum technologies.

Lithium Niobate (LiNbO3) has traditionally been the preferred material for PICs due to its excellent optical properties. However, LiNbO3 is expensive to produce in large wafers, hindering its adoption for high-volume PIC manufacturing.

Researchers propose LiTaO3 as a more cost-effective alternative to LiNbO3 for PICs. LiTaO3 is already commercially produced for 5G radiofrequency filters, making it readily available and affordable. Moreover, LiTaO3 exhibits properties equal to or better than LiNbO3 for PICs.

They successfully fabricated LiTaO3 PICs using a deep ultraviolet stepper-based manufacturing process, a well-established technique for high-volume production. The fabricated LiTaO3 PICs demonstrated low optical loss (5.6 dB/m) and a favorable half-wave voltage-length product (1.9 V*cm), indicating efficient light propagation and modulation.

Another advantage of LiTaO3 over LiNbO3 is its lower birefringence. Birefringence is a property that causes light to split into two paths with different polarizations when propagating through a crystal. Lower birefringence allows for the design of higher-density PICs with improved performance.

Overall, this study highlights the potential of Lithium Tantalate (LiTaO3) as a game-changer for the volume manufacturing of PICs. Its affordability, excellent optical properties, and compatibility with high-volume manufacturing processes make it a promising candidate for widespread adoption in various photonic applications.

Read more

Related Content: Tiny Photonic Chip Generates Ultra-Pure Microwave Signals