Nature communications | 16 Apr 2016
N Reiskarimian and H Krishnaswamy
Lorentz reciprocity is a fundamental characteristic of the vast majority of electronic and photonic structures. However, non-reciprocal components such as isolators, circulators and gyrators enable new applications ranging from radio frequencies to optical frequencies, including full-duplex wireless communication and on-chip all-optical information processing. Such components today dominantly rely on the phenomenon of Faraday rotation in magneto-optic materials. However, they are typically bulky, expensive and not suitable for insertion in a conventional integrated circuit. Here we demonstrate magnetic-free linear passive non-reciprocity based on the concept of staggered commutation. Commutation is a form of parametric modulation with very high modulation ratio. We observe that staggered commutation enables time-reversal symmetry breaking within very small dimensions (λ/1,250 × λ/1,250 in our device), resulting in a miniature radio-frequency circulator that exhibits reduced implementation complexity, very low loss, strong non-reciprocity, significantly enhanced linearity and real-time reconfigurability, and is integrated in a conventional complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor integrated circuit for the first time.
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