News Article

Hong Kong Team Grows Bufferless III-V Lasers On Silicon


Lasers can sustain room-temperature and low-threshold lasing in the 1.5 μm band, say researchers

Researchers from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) have reported what they believe to be the world's first 1.5 μm III-V lasers directly grown using MOCVD on standard 220 nm SOI (silicon-on-insulators) wafers without buffer, potentially paving an opening to the 'holy grail' for silicon photonics research. Previous demonstrations required non-industry-standard bulk Si or thick SOI wafers.The research findings were published online in Optica in February 2020.

In other conventional approaches of integrating III-V lasers on Si in the literature, thick III-V buffers up to a few micrometers are used to reduce the defect densities, which posts challenges for efficient light interfacing between the epitaxial III-V lasers and the Si-based waveguides.

The research team led by Lau Kei-May of HKUST's Department of Electronic and Computer Engineering and Han Yu devised a novel growth scheme to eliminate the requirement of thick III-V buffers and thus promoted efficient light coupling into the Si-waveguides. The bufferless feature points to a fully integrated Si-based photonic integrated circuits.

Lau's group at HKUST's Phonics Technology Centre has endeavoured to integrate III-V materials and functionalities on mainstream silicon wafers for over a decade. This work is part of their project on monolithic integration of III-V lasers on silicon.

Their new method saw them first devising a growth scheme to directly grow high quality III-V materials on the industry-standard 220 SOI platforms. Then, they characterised and evidenced the excellent crystalline quality of these epitaxial III-V materials through transmission electron microscopy and photoluminescence measurements.

The team designed and fabricated the air-cladded laser cavities based on numerical simulations and they eventually tested the devices which showed that the lasers could sustain room-temperature and low-threshold lasing in the technologically important 1.5 μm band under optical excitation.

The demonstration leads to the possibility and potential to monolithically integrate III-V lasers on the industry-standard 220 nm SOI wafers in an economical, compact, and scalable way.

Lau said: "If practically applied, our technology could enable a significant improvement of the speed, power consumption, cost-effectiveness, and functionality of current Si-based integrated circuits. Our daily electronic devices, such as smartphones, laptops and TVs - basically everything connected to the internet - will be much faster, cheaper, using much less power and multi-functional."

Han added: "The next step of our research will be to design and demonstrate the first electrically-driven 1.5 μm III-V lasers directly grown on the 220 nm SOI platforms, and devise a scheme to efficiently couple light from the III-V lasers into Si-waveguides and thereby conceptually demonstrate fully-integrated Si-photonics circuits."

'Bufferless 1.5  µm III-V lasers grown on Si-photonics 220  nm silicon-on-insulator platforms' by Yu Han et al; Optica Vol. 7, Issue 2, pp. 148-153 (2020)

AngelTech Online Summit - Tuesday 19th May

The health and well-being of AngelTech speakers, partners, employees and the overall community is our top priority. Due to the growing concern around the coronavirus (COVID-19), and in alignment with the best practices laid out by the CDC, WHO and other relevant entities, AngelTech decided to postpone the live Brussels event to 16th - 18th November 2020.

In the interim, we believe it is still important to connect the community and we want to do this via an online summit, taking place live on Tuesday May 19th at 12:00 GMT and content available for 12 months on demand. This will not replace the live event (we believe live face to face interaction, learning and networking can never be fully replaced by a virtual summit), it will supplement the event, add value for key players and bring the community together – digitally.

The event will involve 4 breakout sessions for CS International, PIC International, Sensors International and PIC Pilot Lines.

Key elements of the online summit:

  • Covering key topics of the industries
  • Live 3 hour online summit
  • 10 minute presentations – learn from experts in the industry
  • Recorded product demos
  • Live audience questions
  • Enhanced discussion and audience interaction
  • Video panel sessions
  • Sponsors digital booth (intro video, company content, lead generator, facilitate one on one video meetings with attendees)
  • Live private video meetings between two or more attendees
  • After the live event, monthly keynotes to drive traffic to the event 24/7, 365

Innovation is in AngelTech’s DNA and we are leveraging this strength to bring you an immersive and inspiring online event without the risk of travel during this uncertain period.

Register to attend
Angel Tech Online Summit

Search the news archive

To close this popup you can press escape or click the close icon.
Register - Step 1

You may choose to subscribe to the PIC Magazine, the PIC Newsletter, or both. You may also request additional information if required, before submitting your application.

Please subscribe me to:


You chose the industry type of "Other"

Please enter the industry that you work in:
Please enter the industry that you work in: