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Silicon Integrated Optics: Fabrication and Characterization


Shearn, Michael Joseph, II (2010) Silicon Integrated Optics: Fabrication and Characterization. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/VKA1-B695.


For decades, the microelectronics industry has sought integration and miniaturization as canonized in Moore's Law, and has continued doubling transistor density about every two years. However, further miniaturization of circuit elements is creating a bandwidth problem as chip interconnect wires shrink as well. A potential solution is the creation of an on-chip optical network with low delays that would be impossible to achieve using metal buses. However, this technology requires integrating optics with silicon microelectronics. The lack of efficient silicon optical sources has stymied efforts of an all-Si optical platform. Instead, the integration of efficient emitter materials, such as III-V semiconductors, with Si photonic structures is a low-cost, CMOS-compatible alternative platform.

This thesis focuses on making and measuring on-chip photonic structures suitable for on-chip optical networking. The first part of the thesis assesses processing techniques of silicon and other semiconductor materials. Plasmas for etching and surface modification are described and used to make bonded, hybrid Si/III-V structures. Additionally, a novel masking method using gallium implantation into silicon for pattern definition is characterized. The second part of the thesis focuses on demonstrations of fabricated optical structures. A dense array of silicon devices is measured, consisting of fully-etched grating couplers, low-loss waveguides and ring resonators. Finally, recent progress in the Si/III-V hybrid system is discussed. Supermode control of devices is described, which uses changing Si waveguide width to control modal overlap with the gain material. Hybrid Si/III-V, Fabry-Perot evanescent lasers are demonstrated, utilizing a CMOS-compatible process suitable for integration on in electronics platforms. Future prospects and ultimate limits of Si devices and the hybrid Si/III-V system are also considered.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Silicon Optics; Hybrid Laser; Plasma Etching
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Applied Physics
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Scherer, Axel
Thesis Committee:
  • Yariv, Amnon (chair)
  • Atwater, Harry Albert
  • Tai, Yu-Chong
  • Scherer, Axel
Defense Date:20 May 2010
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:05232010-110330796
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:5825
Deposited By: Michael Shearn
Deposited On:07 Mar 2012 18:14
Last Modified:08 Nov 2019 18:09

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