Photonic crystal cavity based architecture for optical interconnects
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Today’s information and communication industry is confronted with a serious bottleneck due to the prohibitive energy consumption and limited transmission bandwidth of electrical interconnects. Silicon photonics offers an alternative by transferring data optically and thereby eliminating the restriction of electrical interconnects over distance and bandwidth. Due to the inherent advantage of using the same material as that used for the electronic circuitry, silicon photonics also promises high volume and low cost production plus the possibility of integration with electronics. In this thesis, I introduce an all-silicon optical interconnect architecture that promises very high integration density along with very low energy consumption. The basic building block of this architecture is a vertically coupled photonic crystal cavity-waveguide system. This vertically coupled system acts as a highly wavelength selective filter. By suitably designing the waveguide and the cavity, at resonance wavelength of the cavity, large drop in transmission can be achieved. By locally modulating the material index of the cavity electrically, the resonance wavelength of the cavity can be tuned to achieve modulation in the transmission of the waveguide. The detection scheme also utilizes the same vertically coupled system. By creating crystal defects in silicon in the cavity region, wavelength selective photodetection can be achieved. This unique vertical coupling scheme also allows us to cascade multiple modulators and detectors coupled to a single waveguide, thus offering huge channel scalability and design and fabrication simplicity. During this project, I have implemented this vertical coupling scheme to demonstrate modulation with extremely low operating energy (0.6 fJ/bit). Furthermore, I have demonstrated cascadeability and multichannel operation by using a comb laser as the source that simultaneously drives five channels. For photodetection, I have realized one of the smallest wavelength selective detector with responsivity of 0.108 A/W at 10 V reverse bias with a dark current of 9.4 nA. By cascading such detectors I have also demonstrated a two-channel demultiplexer.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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