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Problem Addressed:

Photodetection can convert optical signals into electrical signals, which is useful for optical telecommunications. In semiconductors, photodetection involves linearly absorbing an optical signal to create an electrical response in the material. This optical absorption relies on the size of the electronic bandgap, a material specific parameter. Past photodetectors have used silicon with a large, indirect bandgap that is too large for linear absorption of the energy of photons in the telecommunication band. Though silicon photodetectors are easily manufactured with conventional CMOS processes, a new system is needed that can absorb optical energy in the correct range for telecommunication.