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Tuesday, 29 March 2016

PHENOMEN: a new FET-Open Project to generate all-optical phononic circuits enabled by optomechanics

The PHENOMEN project will be coordinated by the ICN2 Phononic and Photonic Nanostructures (P2N) Group, led by ICREA Research Prof Dr Clivia Sotomayor-Torres. With a record submission of over 800 Actions, only 1.4% of Research & Innovation proposals can be funded through the latest H2020 FET-Open call.  The available budget of €40 million set the stakes for excellent projects very high. ICN2 is leading one of 13 selected proposals starting preparation for Grant Agreements.

 

The H2020 FET-Open call "Novel ideas for radically new technologies" aims to support the early stages of joint science and technology research for radically new future technological possibilities. The call is entirely non-prescriptive with regards to the nature or purpose of the technologies that are envisaged and thus targets mainly the unexpected. The Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (ICN2) coordinates one of the 13 proposals starting preparation for Grant Agreements: PHENOMEN. ICREA Research Prof Dr Clivia Sotomayor-Torres, Group Leader of the ICN2 Phononic and Photonic Nanostructures (P2N) Group, is leading this project that went through a selection process with a success rate ten times smaller than that for an ERC grant.

 

At the intersection of photonics, radio frequency signal processing and phononics

PHENOMEN aims at the generation of all-optical phononic circuits enabled by optomechanics. The envisaged transfer of information carried between optical channels will hugely impact information processing. The leading contribution of ICN2 is based on the outstanding contribution of the Phononic and Photonic Nanostructures (P2N) Group to previous FP7 European projects, such as TAILPHOX, and on the research experience and knowledge base treasured by its members.

This project is at the intersection of photonics, radio frequency signal processing and phononics, aiming to achieve an all-optical phononic circuit using coherent phonons as the state variable. The concept is based on cavity optomechanics (OM) to develop GHz- frequency in-chip phononic circuits for room temperature operation. The circuits will integrate OM-pumped phonon sources and detectors as well as phonon processing components (waveguides, splitters, memories, photonic RF signal processing) to process information with phonons outside the cavity.

The project seeks to prove two concepts. One is the efficient generation of GHz to tens of GHz coherent phonons, coupling them efficiently into a waveguide, engineering their propagation with low losses and detecting them at room temperature. The other is the synchronisation of two or more self-sustained OM cavities, which relies on the integration of several phononic components. Phonon-based processing will enable on-chip synchronisation and transfer of information carried between optical channels by phonons, which could eventually serve as a future scalable platform for, e.g., practical information processing with phonons.

The technical work is organised in three work-packages: Theory, Components and Integration. The consortium is made up by three leading research institutes, three universities with an internationally recognised track-record in their respective areas of expertise and an industrial partner bringing their photonics, phononics, optomechanics, electrical engineering, integration, nanofabrication, theory, multi-physics/multi-scale modelling, instrumentation and application of detectors to the project.

 

A record submission to access a total budget of € 40 million

With a record submission, 800 Research & Innovation Actions (RIA) and 15 Coordination & Support Actions (CSA), only 11 RIA projects and 2 CSA projects have been retained for the Grant Preparation phase. The available budget of € 40 million set the stakes for excellent projects very high which is demonstrated by the fact that only 1.4% of RIA proposals can be funded. The retained proposals are expected to foster international collaboration in a multitude of disciplines such as robotics, nanotechnology, neuroscience, information science, biology, artificial intelligence or chemistry.

 

Learn more about the retained proposals:

http://ec.europa.eu/programmes/horizon2020/en/news/fet-open-13-new-proposals-start-preparation-grant-agreements