Graphene-based integrated photonics for next-generation datacom and telecom

Abstract

Graphene is an ideal material for optoelectronic applications. Its photonic properties give several advantages and complementarities over Si photonics. For example, graphene enables both electro-absorption and electro-refraction modulation with an electro-optical index change exceeding 10−3. It can be used for optical add–drop multiplexing with voltage control, eliminating the current dissipation used for the thermal detuning of microresonators, and for thermoelectric-based ultrafast optical detectors that generate a voltage without transimpedance amplifiers. Here, we present our vision for graphene-based integrated photonics. We review graphene-based transceivers and compare them with existing technologies. Strategies for improving power consumption, manufacturability and wafer-scale integration are addressed. We outline a roadmap of the technological requirements to meet the demands of the datacom and telecom markets. We show that graphene-based integrated photonics could enable ultrahigh spatial bandwidth density, low power consumption for board connectivity and connectivity between data centres, access networks and metropolitan, core, regional and long-haul optical communications.

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Fig. 1: The evolution of communications.
Fig. 2: Optical absorption profiles of SLG devices.
Fig. 3: FOM for electro-refractive modulators and electro-absorption modulators based on SLG.
Fig. 4: Transmission of a reconfigurable optical ADD–DROP multiplexer and effect of τ on its performance.
Fig. 5: Double-gated thermoelectric photodetector.
Fig. 6: Process flow of a SLG photonics integrated device.

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Acknowledgements

This work was conceived within the Graphene Flagship project. The authors acknowledge funding from the European Union H2020 Graphene Project, European Research Council (ERC) Grant Hetero2D and Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) grant nos. EP/509 K01711X/1, EP/K017144/1, EP/ N010345/1, EP/M507799/5101 and EP/L016087/1.

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Correspondence to Andrea C. Ferrari.

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International Telecommunications Union: Interfaces for the optical transport network: https://www.itu.int/rec/T-REC-G.709/en

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Romagnoli, M., Sorianello, V., Midrio, M. et al. Graphene-based integrated photonics for next-generation datacom and telecom. Nat Rev Mater 3, 392–414 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41578-018-0040-9

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