Scaling trends in microsystems are discussed frequently in the technical community, providing a short-term perspective on the future of integrated microsystems. This paper looks beyond the leading edge of technological development, focusing on new microsystem design paradigms that move far beyond today's systems based on static components. We introduce the concept of Adaptive Microsystems and outline a path to realizing these systems-on-a-chip. The role of DARPA in advancing future components and systems research is discussed, and specific DARPA efforts enabling and producing adaptive microsystems are presented. In particular, we discuss efforts underway in the DARPA Microsystems Technology Office (MTO) including programs in novel circuit architectures (3DIC), adaptive imaging and sensing (AFPA, VISA, MONTAGE, A-to-I) and reconfigurable RF/Microwave devices (SMART, TFAST, IRFFE).
Recent advances in the design of high-speed optical switches and transceivers for a reconfigurable, spatially-multiplexed optical interconnection network are described. Monolithic switches based on the integration of vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers with heterojunction bipolar transistors and photodetectors have achieved switching operation at a data rate of close to 1 Gb/s. Optical transmission experiments through fibers have been carried out using these switches at a data rate between 650 Mb/s and 1 Gb/s. For future improvements in performance, the photonic and electronic elements should be separately integrated and independently optimized. To facilitate photonic integration, VCSELs and resonance-enhanced photodetectors have been integrated on the same substrate.
The gain-dependent polarization properties of vertical-cavity surface emitting lasers and methods for polarization control and modulation are discussed. The partitioning of power between the two orthogonal eigen polarizations is shown to depend upon the relative spectral alignment of the nondegenerate polarization cavity resonances with the laser gain spectrum. A dominant polarization can thus be maintained by employing a blue-shifted offset of the peak laser gain relative to the cavity resonance wavelength. Alternatively, the polarization can be controlled through use of anisotropic transverse cavity geometries. The orthogonal eigen polarizations are also shown to enable polarization modulation. By exploiting polarization switching transitions in cruciform lasers, polarization modulation of the fundamental mode up to 50 MHz is demonstrated. At lower modulation frequencies, complementary digital polarized output or frequency doubling of the polarized output is obtained. Control and manipulation of vertical-cavity laser polarization may prove valuable for present and future applications.
An optical interconnection system is being developed to provide vertical, digital data channels for stacked multichip modules. A key component of the system is an array of individually addressable vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers with diffractive lenses integrated into the substrate to control beam divergence and direction. The lenses were fabricated by direct-write e-beam lithography and reactive ion beam etching into the GaAs substrate. Preliminary device performance data and the design and fabrication issues are discussed.
We review our progress in the development of an optical interconnect technology consisting of optical and optoelectronic switches that integrate vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSELs) with other photonic and electronic components, including heterojunction phototransistors (HPTs) and heterojunction bipolar transistors (HBTs). We describe a reconfigurable multi-access optical network architecture that allows many high speed electronic processors to simultaneously communicate with each other and with other shared resources, and for its implementation, an integrated optoelectronic switching technology that combines the functions of an optical transceiver and a spatial routing switch. The network provides parallel and dynamically reconfigurable optical interconnections between nodes, as well as optoelectronic interfaces to each processor. By converting data between the electrical and optical formats, these multi-functional switches can receive or transmit optical data, or to bypass and re-route it to another node. Optical switching has been demonstrated experimentally at a data rate of 200 Mb/s, and electrical-to-optical data conversion has been achieved at a data rate of > 500 Mb/s.
Vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSELs) are of increasing interest to the photonics community because of their surface-emitting structure, simple fabrication and packaging, wafer-level testability, and potential for low cost manufacture. Scaling VCSELs to higher power outputs requires increasing the device area, which leads to transverse mode control difficulties if devices become larger than about 5 microns. One approach to increasing the device size while maintaining a well controlled transverse mode profile is formation of coupled or phase-locked 2D arrays of VCSELs that are individually single-transverse mode. Such arrays have unique optical properties, not all of which are desirable. This paper covers some of the basic principles of these devices and reviews recent work on device designs, fabrication and operation. A technique for improving the far- field properties of the arrays is demonstrated and performance limitations are discussed.
Vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSELs) can be integrated with heterojunction phototransistors (HPTs) and heterojunction bipolar transistors (HBTs) on the same wafer to form high speed optical and optoelectronic switches, respectively, that can be optically or electrically addressed. This permits the direct communication and transmission of data between distributed electronic processors through an optical switching network. The experimental demonstration of an integrated optoelectronic HBT/VCSEL switch combining a GaAs/AlGaAs heterojunction bipolar transistor (HBT) with a VCSEL is described, using the same epilayer structure upon which binary HPT/VCSEL optical switches are also built. The monolithic HBT/VCSEL switch has high current gain, low power dissipation, and a high optical to electrical conversion efficiency. Its modulation response has been measured and modeled.
The properties of vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSELs) and VCSEL-based optical switches using MOCVD-grown epitaxial material are discussed and summarized. Also discussed are some of the factors that limit their performance.