Ultra Light Weight and Compact, Flexible Nano-Photonic Mach-Zehnder Interference (MZI) Modulators Based on the combination of Electro-Optic Polymer Na

Award Information
Department of Defense
Air Force
Award Year:
Phase I
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Omega Optics, Inc.
10306 Sausalito Dr, Austin, TX, -
Hubzone Owned:
Minority Owned:
Woman Owned:
Principal Investigator:
Harish Subbaraman
Research Scientist
(512) 996-8833
Business Contact:
Gloria Chen
Contracts Manager
(512) 996-8833
Research Institution:
The University of Texas at Austin
Ray T Chen
10100 Burnet Rd, PRC/MER 160
Austin, TX, 78758-
(512) 471-7035
Nonprofit college or university
ABSTRACT: In this program, Omega Optics, Inc., in collaboration with the University of Texas at Austin, propose to integrate the unique advantages of combining silicon nanomembranes (SiNMs) and electro-optic (EO) polymer nanomembranes in developing a novel low power, high frequency modulator on a flexible substrate. A four order magnitude increase in the electro-optic effect compared to conventional EO polymer waveguide is expected due to a combined effect from 1) slow photon effect of the photonic crystal waveguide (100X enhancement), 2) tight energy confinement in the narrow sub 100nm slot (50X enhancement) and 3) claddingless structure (improves poling and modulation efficiency by at least 2 times), which will carve out a new trail for optoelectronic devices and nonlinear optical devices. Additionally, flexible plastic substrates provide an ideal light weight and conformal platform that are specifically suited for air-borne applications. In the Phase I program, we will design a hybrid silicon-polymer modulator and demonstrate a prototype EO modulator on a flexible substrate. Key manufacturing limitations will be addressed and a detailed Phase II plan will be developed. By combining the unique features of EO polymer and silicon nanomembranes, an ultra sensitive optical modulator with a very short interaction length and with an effective r33 of 2,000,000 pm/V (200pm/V10000) is expected. This is will in-turn generate a 200micron MZI modulator with V-pi below 0.1V. BENEFIT: Integration of Si CMOS and EO polymer technology using a SiNM platform will provide an excellent high performance model for the next generation systems. The foreseeable commercial potential will at least bring profits to millimeter wave modulators, EM wave sensors, radars, communication systems etc. Low power, light weight optical modulators, especially high speed modulators that can work at millimeter wave frequency, will play major roles in next generation backbone digital networks, RF analog photonic systems, wireless communication and optically controlled phased array antennas, thus enabling crucial functionality for future air-borne systems.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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