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Silicon photonics and hybrid integration optoelectronic technologies are incredibly pushing industrial research that looks forward to the effective and low cost integration of absorption-free optical components and micro/nanoelectronic circuits on the same chip. The Institute is strongly involved in this field, focusing the research on the main goals of i) overcoming the silicon intrinsic inability to emit light, ii) developing new families of photodetectors, and iii) discovering original light manipulation techniques on chip at a sub-micron scale. The studied devices and technologies are thought for on-chip and intra-chip optical interconnects, future optical networks for ultrafast data transmission, and optical-based micro/nanosystems.

A strong interest is in perspective devoted to the quantum technologies, and in particular to the design of quantum hardware and software. The activities are based on the solid Institute know how in the realization of micro and nanophotonic devices which can find direct application to the development of quantum integrated circuits and systems.

Nanophotonic biological structures, such as diatoms, are also studied to exploit their unique properties in the design and fabrication of new bio-inspired devices and biomimetic optoelectronic systems, such as super-lenses and solar concentrators.

Moreover, photonic technologies are exploited for the realization of innovative imaging and spectroscopy systems. They are mainly based on digital holography, linear and nonlinear raman effects, interferometric and spectroscopic technologies. The applications are in label free imaging and microscopy in biomedicine, in material science, in micro/nanoelectronics, and in several fields of preeminent industrial interest.

Finally, fiber optic devices and systems exploiting new concepts, such as plasmonic structures and metasurfaces on-the-fiber-tip, are developed for the realization of innovative optical biochemical and physical sensors, paving the way to lab-on-fibers systems.

A permanent staff of more than 60 researchers from the different Institute sites is involved in the Optoelectronic activities, which can be  mainly related to the following topics:

  • Silicon photonics for ICT and optical interconnects
  • Rare-earth doped Si-based materials for photonics and lightning
  • Development of SPAD detector and photomultipliers
  • Light detectors based on Si, Ge and ZnO nanostructures
  • Nanophotonics with metamaterials, plasmonic and photonic crystal structures
  • Optoelectronic components based on reduced dimensionality structures and microcavities
  • Quantum technologies
  • Natural photonic structures and biomimetics
  • Development of innovative optical methods for label free interferometric imaging
  • Volume holographic optical elements: design and possible applications
  • Nonlinear microscopy and bioimaging based on stimulated Raman scattering
  • Optical spectroscopy of semiconductor nanostructures
  • Fiber optic sensors and lab-on-fibers systems


Coordinator: Giorgia Franzò

Optoelectronic components based on reduced dimensionality structures
Development of high-speed NIR photodetectors based on AlGaAs/GaAs heterostructures containing two dimensional (2D) charges

Metal-semiconductor-metal (MSM) photodetectors based on AlGaAs/GaAs...

Near-Infrared Silicon Photodetectors

Due to recent breakthroughs, silicon (Si) photonics is now the most active discipline within the field of integrated optics and, at the same time, a present reality - with...

Development of Innovative Optical Methods for label free Interferometric Imaging

3D Quantitative Imaging

This research activity aims to investigate an alternative approach for the morphological characterization of microscopic objects (biological or not biological) using...

Planar photonics with Metasurface: field enhancement in dielectric structures


Topic A: With the recent advances in micro and nanofabrication methods it is possible to control the flow of light in a way that was not possible before. In particular, metasurfaces have...

Volume Holographic Optical Elements: Design and Possible Applications

Volume Holographic Optical Elements (V-HOEs), such as holographic gratings and spherical lenses, are designed and fabricated by using a prototype of photopolymer. The recording process of V-HOEs...


In this activity we propose an integrated optical electromagnetic field sensor suitable for sensing in the Fresnel region over a wide frequency range (ELF to UHF band). The optical electromagnetic...

Optical characterization of natural photonic structures

Optical properties of natural materials have been numerically and experimentally characterized in order to understand their function in living organisms and, furtherly, to exploit them in bio-...

Silicon photonics for ICT and optical interconnects

The activity is mainly focused on the on the design, fabrication and characterization of silicon photonic and optoelectronic devices able to modulate and generate light. A first activity concerns ...

Development of SPAD detector with improved performances


The use of custom fabrication processes for the development of Single Photon Avalanche Detector (SPAD) devices and arrays with improved performances...

Fiber and integrated optics devices


The main activity in silicon photonics carried out at IMM Bologna aims at exploring the recently discovered stress-induced Pockels effect in strained...