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Proceedings Paper

Demonstration of photonic digital-to-analog conversion (DAC) utilizing a single silicon Mach-Zehnder modulator (Conference Presentation)
Author(s): Guangwei Cong; Shota Kita; Kengo Nozaki; Takashi Inoue; Akihiko Shinya; Makoto Okano; Yuriko Maegami; Noritsugu Yamamoto; Morifumi Ohno; Masaya Notomi; Koji Yamada

Paper Abstract

Digital-to-analog converters (DAC) are indispensable functional units in optical signal transmission and processing. The photonic DAC that converts electrical digital signals to an optical analog one will offer advantages in lowering system complexity, power, and cost. Especially with the required bandwidth increasing, it could mitigate the problems faced by its electrical counterparts in dealing with higher sampling rate. Achieving such a photonic DAC in silicon photonics is promising due to the integration capability of both electronics and photonics and large scale DAC-based photonic circuits can be further realized for on-chip optical signal processing. In this work, we demonstrate 2-bit D/A conversion for the simple proof of concept utilizing only one single silicon Mach-Zehnder modulator (MZM), which is much simpler than previously reported segmented MZM and microring resonator based DACs. One-single MZM capable of 2-bit DAC merits future higher bit resolution design and meanwhile guarantees wide spectral bandwidth. One arm of MZM is used for the MSB bit input, while the other for the LSB, both of them being accomplished by only one phase shifter. For each bit input, we utilize amplitude modulation, instead of phase modulation, by applying the carrier injection induced absorption in the phase shifters. For principle, by setting different bias points for two phase shifters, we can produce the condition at which the amplitude weighting ratio of LSB to MSB is 1/2 in order to obtain the linear amplitude DAC output. In other words, the output optical field has the analog linear amplitude levels (0,1,2,3) which corresponds to the power levels of (0,1,4,9) at the full extinction condition. For fabrication, this device was fabricated on a 220-nm SOI wafer with a 3-m buried-oxide layer at the AIST SCR 300-mm CMOS foundry. The 430-nm-wide fully etched channel waveguide was used for the components except for the pn phase shifter which adopted the shallow-etched rib waveguide structure with a slab thickness of about 110 nm and a width of about 600 nm. The doping density in the weak p/n regions was about 1.61018 cm-3. This MZM was arm-balanced with 2-mm-long phase shifters, adopting GSGSG configuration. Two 50- terminators were also integrated on-chip at the ends of two signal electrodes. For measurement, a two-channel pulse pattern generator produced bit sequences at various frequencies for both MSB and LSB which was applied to the signal electrodes through bias-tees and high-speed probes. The 1.55-m cw light at TE polarization was coupled into the chip via a tapered fiber and the optical output passed an EDFA and a bandpass filter and then was sent to a high-speed oscilloscope for examining DAC analog output. Using this device, we successfully achieved correct D/A conversions with the sampling rates up to 3 GS/s with <1 V peak-to-peak voltages. Note that this speed can be further enhanced to <10 GS/s by constructing the pn phase shifter into a MZM structure or replacing it with a SiGe electro-absorption modulator. In summary, this work verified the feasibility to realize high-sampling-rate 2-bit D/A conversion utilizing a single silicon MZM modulator.

Paper Details

Date Published: 23 May 2018
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Proc. SPIE 10686, Silicon Photonics: From Fundamental Research to Manufacturing, 106860A (23 May 2018); doi: 10.1117/12.2309643
Show Author Affiliations
Guangwei Cong, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (Japan)
Shota Kita, NTT Nanophotonics Ctr. (Japan)
NTT Basic Research Lab. (Japan)
Kengo Nozaki, NTT Nanophotonics Ctr. (Japan)
NTT Basic Research Lab. (Japan)
Takashi Inoue, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (Japan)
Akihiko Shinya, NTT Nanophotonics Ctr. (Japan)
NTT Basic Research Labs. (Japan)
Makoto Okano, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (Japan)
Yuriko Maegami, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (Japan)
Noritsugu Yamamoto, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (Japan)
Morifumi Ohno, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (Japan)
Masaya Notomi, NTT Nanophotonics Ctr. (Japan)
NTT Basic Research Labs. (Japan)
Koji Yamada, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (Japan)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 10686:
Silicon Photonics: From Fundamental Research to Manufacturing
Roel G. Baets; Peter O'Brien; Laurent Vivien, Editor(s)

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