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MIT Research News

August 1, 2018

On-chip optical filter processes wide range of light wavelengths

Silicon-based system offers smaller, cheaper alternative to other “broadband” filters; could improve a variety of photonic devices.

Rob Matheson | MIT News Office

MIT researchers have designed an optical filter on a chip that can process optical signals from across an extremely wide spectrum of light at once, something never before available to integrated optics systems that process data using light. The technology may offer greater precision and flexibility for designing optical communication and sensor systems, studying photons and other particles through ultrafast techniques, and in other applications.

Optical filters are used to separate one light source into two separate outputs: one reflects unwanted wavelengths — or colors — and the other transmits desired wavelengths. Instruments that require infrared radiation, for instance, will use optical filters to remove any visible light and get cleaner infrared signals.