Silicon-Nanocrystal Coated Optical Resonator


Image 1

Photo: Resonator images of a capillary with embedded Si-NCs: (a) transmission image, (b) fluorescence image with 405 nm laser, (c) fluorescence image with laser light filtered out

In the increasing need for miniaturization of microelectronics and increasing computing speed, there are challenges such as increased heat dissipation, cross-talk (interference) and increasing cost. There is a push towards using silicon-based systems due in part to its low cost, abundancy, compatibility and non-toxicity. The surface chemistry of silicon is also very well-known and therefore it can easily be functionalized to tailor for specific applications.

University of Alberta researchers have created a method to deposit silicon nanocrystals (Si-NCs) inside microcavities to develop a high quality fluorescent optical resonator. The technique is simple, inexpensive and reproducible. Applications of the device include the development of a silicon-based laser and optical microfluidic sensors for biochemical sensing. There may also be applications to the display industry.


Image 2

Photo: High resolution TEM image of a flat Si-NC film.


  • Non-toxic
  • Compatible with current microelectronics
  • Inexpensive
  • Tailored surface chemistry
  • High Q-factor resonator
  • Simple, reproducible method
  • Adaptable to different cavity structures
  • Applications in photonics, microfluidics and sensor industries

Protection Status

Issued Patent US 9,452,446

Product Number


Contact Information

Shalon McFarlane
Technology Management Group
TEC Edmonton – University of Alberta
Phone: 780-492-0230