Letter abstract


Nature Photonics 2, 433 - 437 (2008)
Published online: 30 May 2008 | doi:10.1038/nphoton.2008.99

Subject Category: Optoelectronic devices and components

Waveguide-integrated, ultralow-energy GeSi electro-absorption modulators

Jifeng Liu1, Mark Beals1, Andrew Pomerene2, Sarah Bernardis1, Rong Sun1, Jing Cheng1, Lionel C. Kimerling1 & Jurgen Michel1


Waveguide-integrated photonic modulators are crucial devices when encoding optical signals for electronic–photonic integration on silicon1, 2. Silicon photonic modulators based on the free carrier plasma dispersion effect3 have undergone significant development in recent years4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, reaching speeds of 40 Gbit s–1 (ref. 7). Some issues yet to be resolved include the large size and the relatively high energy consumption of silicon Mach–Zehnder interferometer modulators, and the susceptibility to fabrication errors as well as a limited operation wavelength range of approx1 nm for silicon microring modulators. We demonstrate the first waveguide-integrated GeSi electro-absorption modulator on silicon with a small active device area of 30 microm2, a 10-dB extinction ratio at 1,540 nm, an operating spectrum range of 1,539–1,553 nm, ultralow energy consumption of 50 fJ per bit, and a 3-dB bandwidth of 1.2 GHz. This device offers unique advantages for use in high-performance electronic–photonic integration with complementary metal oxide semiconductor circuits.

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  1. Microphotonics Center, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA
  2. BAE Systems, Semiconductor Technology Center, Manassas, Virginia 20110, USA

Correspondence to: Jifeng Liu1 e-mail: jfliu01@mit.edu



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