The Silicon AIPES Research Group is pursuing a comprehensive and multidisciplinary effort to investigate the processing, properties, and application of silicon nanomembranes (SiNMs) to achieve adaptive intelligent photonic/electronic systems (Si-AIPES) with novel function.

SiNMs are unique in that they allow the surmounting of technology barriers that clearly have limited rigid Si. In particular, SiNMs offer singular opportunities in nanophotonics/electronics platforms that appear to be unachievable any other way. SiNMs are large, extremely thin, defect-free, strained (or unstrained) single-crystal Si (Ge, combinations, etc.) sheets whose thickness to lateral dimension aspect ratio can be likened to that of a bed sheet (but a single crystal nonetheless).

SiNMs offer the following key technical advantages:

• They are very thin (2-3 nm to 1000nm) and flexible, and can be manipulated dynamically.

• They are stackable. Multiple transfers will produce membrane heterostructures.

• SiNMs can be strain engineered via layers of Si, SiGe, SiGeC, etc., while remaining dislocation-free. Strain engineering allows manipulating the band structure, carrier mobility, dielectric properties, and phonon spectrum of SiNMs.

• SiNMs are quite transparent and are processable on both sides.

• They are easily transferred to many other hosts without introducing defects.

• They can be patterned into many shapes, including nanowires, microtubes, and structures with combinable dimensions from 0D to 3D.

• SiNMs are conformable. Devices and circuits made on/in SiNMs can be attached onto shaped (non-flat) hosts.

• SiNMs are processable like bulk Si. Thus all manner of Si devices can be fabricated, and high-volume manufacturing is feasible. Because of this versatility, SiNMs offer extensive new opportunities in the dynamic manipulation of light, heat, electric charges, and their combination, all on a very compact and highly configurable scale.