Ultra-low power modulators using MOS depletion in a high-Q SiO₂-clad silicon 2-D photonic crystal resonator

Institute of Optics, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY 14627, USA.
Optics Express (Impact Factor: 3.49). 08/2010; 18(18):19129-40. DOI: 10.1364/OE.18.019129


In modulators that rely on changing refractive index, switching energy is primarily dependent upon the volume of the active optical mode. Photonic crystal microcavities can exhibit extremely small mode volumes on the order of a single cubic wavelength with Q values above 10^6. In order to be useful for integration, however, they must be embedded in oxide, which in practice reduces Q well below 10^3, significantly increasing switching energy. In this work we show that it is possible to create a fully oxide-clad microcavity with theoretical Q on the order of 10^5. We further show that by using MOS charge depletion this microcavity can be the basis for a modulator with a switching energy as low as 1 fJ/bit.

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