Silicon nanocavity light emitters at 1.3-1.5 µm wavelength
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Silicon Photonics has been a major success story in the last decade, with many photonic devices having been successfully demonstrated. The only missing component is the light source, however, as making an efficient light source in silicon is challenging due to the material’s indirect bandgap. The development of a silicon light source would enable us to make an all-silicon chip, which would find many practical applications. The most notable among these applications are on-chip communications and sensing applications. In this PhD project, I have worked on enhancing silicon light emission by combining material processing and device engineering methods. Regarding materials processing, the emission level was increased by taking three routes. In all the three cases the emission was further enhanced by coupling it with a photonic crystal (PhC) cavity via Purcell effect. The three different approaches taken in this PhD project are listed below. 1. The first approach involves incorporation of optically active defects into the silicon lattice by hydrogen plasma treatment or ion implantation. This process results in broad luminescence bands centered at 1300 and 1500 nm. By coupling these emission bands with the photonic crystal cavity, I was able to demonstrate a narrowband silicon light emitting diode at room temperature. This silicon nano light emitting diode has a tunable emission line in the 1300-1600 nm range. 2. In the second approach, a narrow emission line at 1.28µm was created by carbon ion implantation, termed “G-line” emission. The possibility of enhancing the emission intensity of this line via the Purcell effect was investigated, but only with limited success. Different proposals for future work are presented in this regard. 3. The third approach is deposition of a thin film of an erbium disilicate on top of a PhC cavity. The erbium emission is enhanced by the PhC cavity. Using this method, an optically pumped light source emitting at 1.54 µm and operating at room temperature is demonstrated. A practical application of silicon light source developed in this project in gas sensing is also demonstrated. As a first step, I show refractive index sensing, which is a simple application for our source and demonstrates its capabilities, especially relating to the lack of fiber coupling schemes. I also discuss several proposals for extending applications into on-chip biological sensing.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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