Barium Titanate Photonic Crystal Electro-Optic Modulators for Telecommunication and Data Network Applications

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The microwave, optical, and electro-optic properties of epitaxial barium titanate thin films grown on (100) MgO substrates and photonic crystal electro-optic modulators fabricated on these films were investigated to demonstrate the applicability of these devices for telecommunication and data networks. The electrical and electro-optical properties were characterized up to modulation frequencies of 50 GHz, and the optical properties of photonic crystal waveguides were determined for wavelengths spanning the optical C band between 1500 and 1580 nm. Microwave scattering parameters were measured on coplanar stripline devices with electrode gap spacings between 5 and 12 μm on barium titanate films with thicknesses between 230 and 680 nm. The microwave index and device characteristic impedance were obtained from the measurements. Larger (lower) microwave indices (impedances) were obtained for devices with narrower electrode gap spacings and on thicker films. Thinner film devices have both lower index mismatch between the co-propagating microwave and optical signals and lower impedance mismatch to a 50 system, resulting in a larger predicted electro-optical 3 dB bandwidth. This was experimentally verified with electro-optical frequency response measurements. These observations were applied to demonstrate a record high 28 GHz electro-optic bandwidth measured for a BaTiO3 conventional ridge waveguide modulator having 1mm long electrodes and 12 μm gap spacing on a 260nm thick film. The half-wave voltage and electro-optic coefficients of barium titanate modulators were measured for films having thicknesses between 260 and 500 nm. The half-wave voltage was directly measured at low frequencies using a polarizer-sample-compensator-analyzer setup by over-driving waveguide integrated modulators beyond their linear response regime. Effective in-device electro-optic coefficients were obtained from the measured half-wave voltages. The effective electro-optic coefficients were found to increase with both applied electrical dc bias and with film thickness. A record low 0.39V · cm (0.45V · cm) voltage-length product was measured for barium titanate modulators operating at telecommunication wavelengths on a device with 5 μm electrode gap spacing on a 500nm thick film modulated at a frequency of 100 Hz (1 MHz). This measured voltage-length product is more than a factor of 5 lower than that reported for state-of-the-art silicon conventional waveguide modulators. The electro-optical characterization of BaTiO3 films revealed a trade-off that exists for traveling wave BaTiO3 modulators: lower voltages are obtained in thicker film devices with narrow electrode gap spacing while larger bandwidths are obtained in thinner film devices with wider electrode gap spacing. These findings were supported by calculations of the film thickness dependent half-wave voltage and electro-optic bandwidth. In order to demonstrate modulators having simultaneously low voltage operation and high electro-optic bandwidth, photonic crystal waveguide modulators with large group index were investigated through theory and experiment. The theory for slow light phase delay in linear optical materials was extended for second order nonlinear optical materials. This theory was incorporated into a detailed model for predicting photonic crystal modulator performance in terms of voltage-length product and electro-optic bandwidth. Modeling shows that barium titanate photonic crystal modulators with sub-millimeter length, sub-volt operation, and greater than 40 GHz electro-optic bandwidth are achievable in a single device. Two types of photonic crystal waveguides (PC) on BaTiO3 films were designed, fabricated, and characterized: waveguides with hexagonal lattice symmetry and waveguides with hexagonal symmetry having a line defect oriented in the direction of light propagation. Excellent agreement was obtained between the simulated and measured transmission for hexagonal lattice PC waveguides. An extinction of 20 dB was measured across a 9.9 nm stop band edge, yielding a record large band edge sharpness of 2 dB/nm for all photonic crystal waveguides on ferroelectric films. A 12-fold enhancement of the electro-optic coefficient was measured via optical spectral analysis in a line defect BaTiO3 modulator, yielding an effective electro-optic coefficient of 900 pm/V in the photonic crystal region at a modulation frequency of 10 GHz. This enhancement was demonstrated over a 48 nm range, demonstrating the wideband operation of these devices.

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  • 02/13/2018
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