Photonic integrated circuits are developing as key enabling components for high-performance computing and advanced network-on-chip, as well as other emerging technologies such as lab-on-chip sensors, with relevant applications in areas from medicine and biotechnology to aerospace. These demanding applications will require novel features, such as dynamically reconfigurable light pathways, obtained by properly harnessing on-chip optical radiation. In this paper, we introduce a broadband, high directivity (>150), low loss and reconfigurable silicon photonics nanoantenna that fully enables on-chip radiation control. We propose the use of these nanoantennas as versatile building blocks to develop wireless (unguided) silicon photonic devices, which considerably enhance the range of achievable integrated photonic functionalities. As examples of applications, we demonstrate 160 Gbit s-1 data transmission over mm-scale wireless interconnects, a compact low-crosstalk 12-port crossing and electrically reconfigurable pathways via optical beam steering. Moreover, the realization of a flow micro-cytometer for particle characterization demonstrates the smart system integration potential of our approach as lab-on-chip devices.
Keywords: integrated optics; lab-on-a-chip devices; nanoantenna; sensing; silicon photonics.