Room-temperature InP distributed feedback laser array directly grown on silicon

Abstract

Fully exploiting the silicon photonics platform for large-volume, cost-sensitive applications requires a fundamentally new approach to directly integrate high-performance laser sources using wafer-scale fabrication methods. Direct-bandgap III–V semiconductors allow efficient light generation, but the large mismatch in lattice constant, thermal expansion and crystal polarity makes their epitaxial growth directly on silicon extremely complex. Using a selective-area growth technique in confined regions, we surpass this fundamental limit and demonstrate an optically pumped InP-based distributed feedback laser array monolithically grown on (001)-silicon operating at room temperature and suitable for wavelength-division-multiplexing applications. The novel epitaxial technology suppresses threading dislocations and anti-phase boundaries to a less than 20-nm-thick layer, which does not affect device performance. Using an in-plane laser cavity defined using standard top-down lithographic patterning together with a high yield and high uniformity provides scalability and a straightforward path towards cost-effective co-integration with silicon photonic and electronic circuits.

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Figure 1: Monolithic integration of InP lasers on Si.
Figure 2: Laser operation in a single monolithically integrated laser.
Figure 3: DFB laser array with lithographically controlled emission wavelengths.
Figure 4: High yield and scalability of the Si integrated laser array.

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Acknowledgements

This work was supported by the European Commission through ERC project ULPPIC (Ultra Low Power Photonic IC) and imec's industry-affiliation programme on optical I/O. The authors thank R. Baets, G. Roelkens and N. Le Thomas for discussions.

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Contributions

D.V.T. proposed and coordinated the overall project. J.V.C., Z.W. and P.A. suggested the idea of an in-plane laser on silicon. B.T. explored the theoretical design. Z.W. developed the process flow. C.M. and W.G. carried out the epitaxial growth. M.P. processed the silicon template. B.T. and Z.W. performed the photoluminescence characterizations. Z.W. and D.V.T. composed the manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Dries Van Thourhout.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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Wang, Z., Tian, B., Pantouvaki, M. et al. Room-temperature InP distributed feedback laser array directly grown on silicon. Nature Photon 9, 837–842 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1038/nphoton.2015.199

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