Silicon integrated nanophotonic devices for on-chip optical interconnects
MetadataShow full item record
Silicon is the dominant material in Microelectronics. Building photonic devices out of silicon can leverage the mature processing technologies developed in silicon CMOS. Silicon is also a very good waveguide material. It is highly transparent at 1550nm, and it has very high refractive index of 3.46. High refractive index enables building high index contrast waveguides with dimensions close to the diffraction limit. This provides the opportunity to build highly integrated photonic integrated circuit that can perform multiple functions on the same silicon chip, an optical parallel of the electronic integrated circuit. However, silicon does not have some of the necessary properties to build active optical devices such as lasers and modulators. For Example, silicon is an indirect band gap material that can’t be used to make lasers. The centro-symmetric crystal structure in silicon presents no electro-optic effect. By contrast, electro-optic polymer can be engineered to show very strong electro-optic effect up to 300pm/V. In this research we have demonstrated highly compact and efficient devices that utilize the strong optical confinement ability in silicon and strong electro-optic effect in polymer. We have performed detailed investigations on the optical coupling to a slow light waveguide and developed solutions to improve the coupling efficiency to a slow light photonic crystal waveguides (PCW). These studies have lead to the demonstration of the most hybrid silicon modulator demonstrate to date and a compact chip scale true time delay module that can be implemented in future phased array antenna systems. In the future, people may be able to realize a photonic integrated circuit for optical communication or sensor systems using the devices we developed in our research.