Integrating inorganic semiconductor microelectronic devices on polymer films can combine the high electrical performance of the former and the mechanical flexibility of the latteri . The resultant flexible electronic systems have already demonstrated tremendous success in applications ranging from consumer electronics, biomedical and bio-inspired devices to thin film photovoltaics. In this seed program, we propose to develop flexible silicon photonics on polymer film substrate which can be heterogeneously integrated with active photonic devices made in III-V semiconductors. Our approach is to mechanically transfer integrated silicon photonic devices from the standard crystalline substrate to a flexible and transparent polymer film. We have recently developed techniques that can achieve this transfer with high precision and consistency. The transfer process is generic in that it only utilizes interfacial forces without the use of any adhesives. Therefore it is suited to a wide range of materials and can be applied repeatedly for multilayer integration.
In this seed program we will achieve the following specific aims: i. Identify appropriate polymer materials as optical substrate ii. Fabricate silicon photonics on polymer films iii. Develop tunable flexible silicon photonics and optomechanical sensors iv. Demonstrate 3D heterogeneous integration of multilayer flexible photonic devices The proposed silicon-on-plastic (SOP) photonics will provide a powerful and versatile platform for highly tunable photonic devices, sensors for mechanical forces and motion, and biomechanical sensors. Further, their integration with the existing technology of flexible electronics and microfluidics will lead to a whole suite of multifunctional optoelectronic systems with a plethora of future applications.
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