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CMOS-compatible multiple-wavelength oscillator for on-chip optical interconnects


Silicon photonics enables the fabrication of on-chip, ultrahigh-bandwidth optical networks that are critical for the future of microelectronics1,2,3. Several optical components necessary for implementing a wavelength division multiplexing network have been demonstrated in silicon. However, a fully integrated multiple-wavelength source capable of driving such a network has not yet been realized. Optical amplification, a necessary component for lasing, has been achieved on-chip through stimulated Raman scattering4,5, parametric mixing6 and by silicon nanocrystals7 or nanopatterned silicon8. Losses in most of these structures have prevented oscillation. Raman oscillators have been demonstrated9,10,11, but with a narrow gain bandwidth that is insufficient for wavelength division multiplexing. Here, we demonstrate the first monolithically integrated CMOS-compatible source by creating an optical parametric oscillator formed by a silicon nitride ring resonator on silicon. The device can generate more than 100 new wavelengths with operating powers below 50 mW. This source can form the backbone of a high-bandwidth optical network on a microelectronic chip.

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Figure 1: On-chip optical parametric oscillator.
Figure 2: Four-wave mixing in silicon nitride waveguides.
Figure 3: Demonstration of optical parametric oscillation for an integrated multiple-wavelength source.
Figure 4: Measurement of the oscillation threshold.


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The authors would like to acknowledge the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) for supporting this work under the Optical Arbitrary Waveform Generation Program and the MTO POPS Program. This work was performed in part at the Cornell NanoScale Facility, a member of the National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network, which is supported by the National Science Foundation (grant no. ECS-0335765).

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Authors and Affiliations



J.S.L., A.G., M.A.F. and A.C.T. performed the experiments for the multiple frequency generation. J.S.L., M.A.F. and A.C.T. performed the experiments on the parametric gain in straight silicon nitride waveguides. M.A.F. and J.S.L. performed the linewidth measurements. J.S.L. designed the waveguide dimensions. J.S.L. and A.G. developed the fabrication process and fabricated the devices. M.L. and A.L.G. supervised the project.

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Correspondence to Michal Lipson.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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Levy, J., Gondarenko, A., Foster, M. et al. CMOS-compatible multiple-wavelength oscillator for on-chip optical interconnects. Nature Photon 4, 37–40 (2010).

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