Photonics for secure communications, radiation and chem-bio detection: an overview of recent activities at Lawrence Livermore National Laborator (LLNL)

Dr. Tiziana Conese Bond

Center of Micro-Nano Technology,

                   Electronics Engineering Technologies Division, LLNL


At the Center of Micro and Nano Technology of LLNL, we are engaged in the development of active and passive optical technology for dense high speed photonic integrated circuits for secure communications and national information assurance. We are focusing on the development of a scalable logic family capable of > 40GB/s optical encryption and decryption. III-V semiconductor lasers and laser-logic (gain-competing inverters & nor-gates) are being interconnected by low-loss high-index passive waveguides in a monolithic integrated circuit. Gain in the logic devices is necessary to overcome coupling and transmission losses in the passive waveguides.  

We also focus strongly on fieldable sensors, from radiation (i.e x, g-rays) to chemical and biological (i.e. contaminants, pathogens), to physical (i.e. gap, stress, pressure). As an example, for the radiation diagnostic, we developed a converter based on InGaAsP Mach-Zehnder, one of which arms is modulated by x-rays absorption and e-h pair creation. Based on the first results achieved at SSRL, we believe that at x-ray photon energies near 10KV and higher, sub-ps temporal response is possible with near single x-ray photon sensitivity. Within the chem-bio applications, we are working on a flow-through silicon photonic crystal as a very sensitive, selective single platform for collection, immobilization and detection of pathogens and chemical agents. This platform will allow extremely compact, multiplexed real-time response to biological threats.

(This work was performed under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Energy by University of California, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory under Contract W-7405-Eng-48. UCRL-ABS-219751)