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Proceedings Paper

[lambda]-size silicon-based modulator
Author(s): Volker J. Sorger; Noberto D. Lanzillotti-Kimura; Ren-Min Ma; Chen Huang; Zhuoran Li; Xiang Zhang
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Paper Abstract

Electro-optic modulators have been identified as the key drivers for optical communication. With an ongoing miniaturization of photonic circuitries, an outstanding aim is to demonstrate an on-chip, ultra-compact, electro-optic modulator without sacrificing bandwidth and modulation strength. While silicon-based electro-optic modulators have been demonstrated, they require large device footprints of the order of millimeters as a result of weak non-linear electro-optical properties. The modulation strength can be increased by deploying a high-Q resonator, however with the trade-off of significantly sacrificing bandwidth. Furthermore, design challenges and temperature tuning limit the deployment of such resonance-based modulators. Recently, novel materials like Graphene have been investigated for electro-optic modulation applications with a 0.1 dB per micrometer modulation strength, while showing an improvement over pure silicon devices, this design still requires devices lengths of tens of micrometers due to the inefficient overlap between the Graphene layer and the optical mode of the silicon waveguide. Here we experimentally demonstrate an ultra-compact, Silicon-based, electro-optic modulator with a record-high 1dB per micrometer extinction ratio over a wide bandwidth range of 500 nm in ambient conditions. The device is based on a plasmonic Metal-Oxide-Semiconductor (MOS) waveguide, which efficiently concentrates the optical modes’ electric field into a nanometer thin region comprised of an absorption coefficient-tuneable Indium-Tin-Oxide (ITO) layer. The modulation mechanism originates from electrically changing the free carrier concentration of the ITO layer. The seamless integration of such a strong optical beam modulation into an existing silicon-on-insulator platform bears significant potential towards broadband, compact and efficient communication links and circuits.

Paper Details

Date Published: 14 March 2013
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 8629, Silicon Photonics VIII, 86290O (14 March 2013); doi: 10.1117/12.2001338
Show Author Affiliations
Volker J. Sorger, The George Washington Univ. (United States)
Univ. of California Berkeley (United States)
Noberto D. Lanzillotti-Kimura, Univ. of California Berkeley (United States)
Ren-Min Ma, Univ. of California Berkeley (United States)
Chen Huang, The George Washington Univ. (United States)
Zhuoran Li, The George Washington Univ. (United States)
Xiang Zhang, Univ. of California Berkeley (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8629:
Silicon Photonics VIII
Joel Kubby; Graham T. Reed, Editor(s)

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