Engineers develop low-energy diodes

Nov. 17, 2011, 2:04 a.m.

Researchers in the School of Engineering recently developed a new, ultrafast nanoscale light-emitting diode (LED) with the potential to transmit data using far less energy than other data transmission devices. The new LED is able to transmit data at 10 billion bits per second. Jelena Vuckovic, an associate professor of electrical engineering, and Gary Shambat, a doctoral candidate in electrical engineering, were the lead researchers in developing the device.

The LED functions as a single-mode device. By using a single wavelength, it resembles standard lasers used to transmit data, yet is able to perform similar tasks at a faster rate, using less energy by combining light transmission and modulation.

Unlike another device Vuckovic produced earlier this year, this latest device can operate at room temperature, rendering it useful for commercial purposes and in answering the growing energy needs of the computer industry.

Also unlike pre-existing devices that combined a laser and external modulator, Vuckovic’s latest production is a single device completing both tasks.

Marianne LeVine


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