Silicon CMOS Compatible, Ultra-compact, Power-efficient Nanophotonic Waveguide Modulator
Agency / Branch:
DOD / USAF
Nanophotonics promises to have a revolutionary impact on the landscape of photonics technology. Due to the maturity of sub-micron silicon CMOS technology, nanophotonics on silicon is anticipated to play a critical role in future nano-system integration. In this program, Omega Optics and the University of Texas at Austin propose an innovative approach to building ultra-compact silicon Mach-Zehnder(MZ) modulators. The proposed structure consists of carefully designed photonic crystal waveguides(PCW) in conjunction with a variety of electrode configurations, which exploit the plasma dispersion effect to achieve high-speed modulation. Incorporating the PCW nanostructure provides an unprecedented opportunity to enhance the modulation efficiency of silicon based MZ modulators, and a reduction of electrode length up to 100 times is expected. The ultra-short electrode length associated with the highly dispersive PCW nanostructure brings such exclusive advantages as low power consumption, high bandwidth, and potential for high-density integration of modulator arrays, which promises to outperform existing silicon guided-wave devices by at least one order of magnitude. More than 10 times device dimension shrinkage and power reduction have been demonstrated in Phase I. In the Phase II program, we will conduct in-depth investigation of the device physics through 3D time-dependent simulations and characterization of fabricated devices. The outcome of such study will assist us to enhance the modulation speed, lower optical loss, and further shrink the device and reduce power consumption. Device engineering and packaging issues will also be addressed to facilitate the demonstration of a fully packaged ultra-compact PCW Mach-Zehnder modulator array. Other photonic crystal based guided wave components will also be investigated for nanophotonic system integration. Application of ultra-compact, power-efficient photonic crystal nano-systems for Air Force use will be explored with emphasis placed on technology integration with our existing capability in phased array antenna research.
Small Business Information at Submission:
Research Institution Information:
OMEGA OPTICS, INC.
10435 Burnet Rd., Suite 108 Austin, TX 78758
Number of Employees:
UNIV. OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN-PRC
10100 Burnet Rd., Bldg. 160
Mail Code R9900
Austin, TX 78758
Ray T. Chen
Nonprofit college or university