Exploring Optical Data Processing Through Communication in Silicon Photonics: Hybrid Interconnect, Switch and Crossbar Router, and Analog Solver Open Access
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Continuing demands for increased computing efficiency and communication bandwidth have led to the development of novel technologies with the potential to outperform conventional electronic solutions. With the success of long-haul optical communications, photonic devices interconnect at the board, and even at the chip-level, have become of interest in order to mitigate the computing-to-communication gap. However, due to the weak light-matter interaction and diffraction limitations, photonic devices in the computing domain still suffer from high dynamic power consumption and bulky footprint which limits the dense packaging on-chip. On the other side, plasmonic devices with enhanced energy and area efficiency have been pervasively applied in computing with THz level operating speed. To combine the benefit from both worlds, integrated photonics with plasmonic hybridization represents a promising platform for advancement in the field of on-chip communication, data routing, large-scale optical networks, data transceiving, and analog computing. This emerging technology leverages on short delays and high energy efficiency combined with wafer-scale dense integration. In addition, unique features of light could be implemented as well to further boost the performance. Here, in this dissertation, we propose a set of hybrid photonic-plasmonic devices as well as an interconnect option that combines both long propagation distance from photonics and the high-efficiency light manipulation from plasmonics, and show orders of magnitude higher operating speed, energy efficiency and footprint reduction based on the novel figure-of-merit we define for performance evaluation among different technologies. Moreover, an integrated photonic circuit is demonstrated with the potential of been adapted into the proposed technology for real-time physical problem analog emulation on the hardware level, which bridges the gap between optical communication and data processing in optics.