OPEN Nature communications | 8 Oct 2017
T Dinc, M Tymchenko, A Nagulu, D Sounas, A Alu and H Krishnaswamy
Recent research has explored the spatiotemporal modulation of permittivity to break Lorentz reciprocity in a manner compatible with integrated-circuit fabrication. However, permittivity modulation is inherently weak and accompanied by loss due to carrier injection, particularly at higher frequencies, resulting in large insertion loss, size, and/or narrow operation bandwidths. Here, we show that the presence of absorption in an integrated electronic circuit may be counter-intuitively used to our advantage to realize a new generation of magnet-free non-reciprocal components. We exploit the fact that conductivity in semiconductors provides a modulation index several orders of magnitude larger than permittivity. While directly associated with loss in static systems, we show that properly synchronized conductivity modulation enables loss-free, compact and extremely broadband non-reciprocity. We apply these concepts to obtain a wide range of responses, from isolation to gyration and circulation, and verify our findings by realizing a millimeter-wave (25 GHz) circulator fully integrated in complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor technology.Optical non-reciprocity achieved through refractive index modulation can have its challenges and limitations. Here, Dinc et al. introduce the concept of non-reciprocity based on synchronized spatio-temporal modulation of conductivity to achieve different types of non-reciprocal functionality.
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