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March 07, 2012

Feasibility of Ultralow-power all-optical RAM based on nanocavities demonstrated

Nature Photonics - Optical random-access memory (o-RAM) has been regarded as one of the most difficult challenges in terms of replacing its various functionalities in electronic circuitry with their photonic counterparts. Nevertheless, it constitutes a key device in optical routing and processing. Here, we demonstrate that photonic crystal nanocavities with an ultrasmall buried heterostructure design can solve most of the problems encountered in previous o-RAMs. By taking advantage of the strong confinement of photons and carriers and allowing heat to escape efficiently, we have realized all-optical RAMs with a power consumption of only 30 nW, which is more than 300 times lower than the previous record, and have achieved continuous operation. We have also demonstrated their feasibility in multibit integration. This paves the way for constructing a low-power large-scale o-RAM system that can handle high-bit-rate optical signals.


Optical random-access memory device structure and static response.






Integrated o-RAM chip module with an optical fibre array.
Multi-input/output access between polarization-maintained fibres (PMFs) and o-RAM
chip was obtained via lens systems.


8 pages of supplemental material


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