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Integrated Ultrafast Nonlinear Optical Devices in Silicon


Hochberg, Michael (2006) Integrated Ultrafast Nonlinear Optical Devices in Silicon. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/8124-DA56.


Silicon-on-insulator (SOI) provides an intriguing system for developing massively integrated optics. By leveraging the processes and systems developed for electronics fabrication, it is possible to make highly repeatable devices where complexity can be scaled up through the use of wafer-scale batch fabrication. Because the mode concentration in silicon waveguides is two orders of magnitude higher than in fibers, it is possible to construct very compact nonlinear optical devices within this system, enabling the miniaturization and integration of ultrafast nonlinear devices. We have developed a library of devices, including both dielectric and plasmonic waveguides, as well as resonators, splitters, and a variety of other basic optical components.

Using these components to construct integrated devices of moderate complexity, we have demonstrated Pockels’ Effect-based ring modulators, optical rectification-based detectors, four-wave mixing devices, and ultrafast intensity modulators, which operate at speeds in excess of 2 Terahertz. By integrating optical polymers through evanescent coupling to high-mode-confinement silicon waveguides, the effective nonlinearity of the waveguides can be greatly increased. The combination of high mode confinement, multiple integrated optical components, and high nonlinearity produces all-optical ultrafast devices operating at power levels compatible with modern continuous-wave telecommunication systems. Although far from commercial modulator standards in terms of extinction, these modulator devices are a first step toward large scale integrated ultrafast optical logic in silicon, and are two orders of magnitude faster than existing free-carrier-based silicon devices.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Integrated Ultrafast; Nonlinear; Optical Devices; Silicon
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Applied Physics
Awards:Demetriades-Tsafka-Kokkalis Prize in Nanotechnology or Related Fields, 2006.
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Scherer, Axel
Thesis Committee:
  • Scherer, Axel (chair)
  • Yariv, Amnon
  • Rutledge, David B.
  • Doll, Theodore
  • Bridges, William B.
Defense Date:10 May 2006
Record Number:CaltechETD:etd-05252006-160420
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:2057
Deposited By: Imported from ETD-db
Deposited On:31 May 2006
Last Modified:20 Apr 2020 18:58

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