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Proceedings Paper

Rare-earth-ion-doped waveguide lasers on a silicon chip
Author(s): Markus Pollnau
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Paper Abstract

Rare-earth-ion-doped materials are of high interest as amplifiers and lasers in integrated optics. Their longer excited-state lifetimes and the weaker refractive-index change accompanied with rare-earth-ion excitation compared to electron-hole pairs in III-V semiconductors provide spatially and temporally stable optical gain, allowing for high-speed amplification and narrow-linewidth lasers. Amorphous Al2O3 deposited onto thermally oxidized silicon wafers offers the advantage of integration with silicon photonics and electronics. Layer deposition by RF reactive co-sputtering and micro-structuring by chlorine-based reactive-ion etching provide low-loss channel waveguides. With erbium doping, we improved the gain to 2 dB/cm at 1533 nm and a gain bandwidth of 80 nm. The gain is limited by migration-accelerated energy-transfer upconversion and a fast quenching process. Since stimulated emission is even faster than this quenching process, lasers are only affected in terms of their threshold, allowing us to demonstrate diode-pumped micro-ring, distributed-feedback (DFB), and distributed-Bragg-reflector (DBR) lasers in Al2O3:Er3+ and Al2O3:Yb3+ on a silicon chip. Surface-relief Bragg gratings were patterned by laser-interference lithography. Monolithic DFB and DBR cavities with Q-factors of 1.35×106 were realized. In an Er-doped DFB laser, single-longitudinal-mode operation at 1545 nm was achieved with a linewidth of 1.7 kHz, corresponding to a laser Q-factor of 1.14×1011. Yb-doped DFB and DBR lasers were demonstrated at 1020 nm with output powers of 55 mW and a slope efficiency of 67% versus launched pump power. A dual-phaseshift, dual-wavelength laser was achieved and a stable microwave signal at ~15 GHz was created via the heterodyne photo-detection of the two laser wavelengths.

Paper Details

Date Published: 16 March 2015
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 9359, Optical Components and Materials XII, 935910 (16 March 2015); doi: 10.1117/12.2077474
Show Author Affiliations
Markus Pollnau, KTH Royal Institute of Technology (Sweden)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9359:
Optical Components and Materials XII
Shibin Jiang; Michel J. F. Digonnet, Editor(s)

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