Data transfer rates between silicon electronic chips are reaching a limit that prevents the continued development of high speed smart-phones, computers, and internet devices. While silicon?s properties are excellent for electronic devices, optical sources based on silicon are incapable of efficient, high-speed communication. Within the framework of the Materials Genome Initiative, this project will seek new materials and associated fabrication processes to overcome this hurdle. Recently it has been shown that MDC materials, such as molybdenum disulfide, can be grown in large-scale, high quality, atomically thin films on silicon dioxide substrates. Theoretically, it is predicted that such materials are semiconductors with a tunable, direct band gap that renders them far superior for optical communication applications than silicon. This research project intends to develop a theory-driven understanding of fabrication and control of such atomically-thin materials towards validating their use as on-chip light sources for future optical interconnects for integrated circuits. The PIs have an excellent track of record on promoting STEM activities within their respective institution. They intend to work with high school students, undergraduate and graduate students, and involve students from underrepresented groups in the planned research. The outreach activities proposed in this project are solid and will definitely have a broader societal impact.

The goals of this project are to create a continuous knowledge link between atomistic material theory and chemical material synthesis of a variety of 2D metal dichalcogenidies and their alloys as a foundation for discovering, synthesizing, and accelerating the next generation of on-chip laser devices suitable for applications in telecommunication and data-processing. It builds on recent findings by the principal investigators such as strain-stabilization of different metal dichalcogenide phases, mm-scale growth of continuous single-layer molybdenum disulfide films, and loss management and demonstration of laser devices featuring optical mode sizes below the diffraction limit of light. The research collaborators will combine theoretical screening of a broad range of materials and predictive modeling of substrate stabilization of their structure, with development of growth methods for a diverse set of materials, and application-near functional evaluation on a waveguide tested. This project brings together an interdisciplinary set of methods ranging from analytical and numerical simulation, to chemical process development and the design and characterization of on-chip integrated laser devices. This vertical, theory-based integration of materials development methods realizes the goal of the Materials Genome Initiative. Success of this project will provide input to the field of functional 2D materials for years to come that will be instrumental in the development of novel photonic integrated circuits, and potentially sensors.

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George Washington University
United States
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