Flexible and tunable silicon photonic circuits on plastic substrates

Yu Chen, Huan Li, Mo Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

89 Scopus citations


Flexible microelectronics has shown tremendous promise in a broad spectrum of applications, especially those that cannot be addressed by conventional microelectronics in rigid materials and constructions. These unconventional yet important applications range from flexible consumer electronics to conformal sensor arrays and biomedical devices. A recent paradigm shift in implementing flexible electronics is to physically transfer highly integrated devices made in high-quality, crystalline semiconductors on to plastic substrates. Here we demonstrate a flexible form of silicon photonics using the transfer-and-bond fabrication method. Photonic circuits including interferometers and resonators have been transferred onto flexible plastic substrates with preserved functionalities and performance. By mechanically deforming, the optical characteristics of the devices can be tuned reversibly over a remarkably large range. The demonstration of the new flexible photonic systems based on the silicon-on-plastic (SOP) platform could open the door to many future applications, including tunable photonics, optomechanical sensors and biomechanical and bio-photonic probes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number622
JournalScientific reports
StatePublished - 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported partially by NSF Award Number ECCS-1232064 and by the MRSEC Program of NSF under Award Number DMR-0819885. Parts of this work were carried out in the University of Minnesota Nanofabrication Center which receives partial support from NSF through NNIN program, and the Characterization Facility which is a member of the NSF-funded Materials Research Facilities Network via the MRSEC program.


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