Hydrogenated amorphous silicon photonics

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Title: Hydrogenated amorphous silicon photonics
Author: Narayanan, Karthik
Abstract: Silicon Photonics is quickly proving to be a suitable interconnect technology for meeting the future goals of on-chip bandwidth and low power requirements. However, it is not clear how silicon photonics will be integrated into CMOS chips, particularly microprocessors. The issue of integrating photonic circuits into electronic IC fabrication processes to achieve maximum flexibility and minimize complexity and cost is an important one. In order to maximize usage of chip real estate, it will be advantageous to integrate in three-dimensions. Hydrogenated-amorphous silicon (a-Si:H) is emerging as a promising material for the 3-D integration of silicon photonics for on-chip optical interconnects. In addition, a-Si:H film can be deposited using CMOS compatible low temperature plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD) process at any point in the fabrication process allowing vertical stacking of optical interconnects. In this thesis we demonstrate a-Si:H as a high performance alternate platform to crystalline silicon, enabling backend integration of optical interconnects in a hybrid photonic-electronic network-on-chip architecture. High quality passive devices are fabricated on a low-loss a-Si:H platform enabling wavelength division multiplexing schemes. We demonstrate a broadband all-optical modulation scheme based on free-carrier absorption effect, which can enable compact electro-optic modulators in a-Si:H. Furthermore, we comprehensively characterize the optical nonlinearities in a-Si:H and observe that a-Si:H exhibits enhanced nonlinearities as compared to crystalline silicon. Based on the enhanced nonlinearities, we demonstrate low-power four-wave mixing in a-Si:H waveguides enabling high-speed all-optical devices in an a-Si:H platform. Finally, we demonstrate a novel data encoding scheme using thermal and all-optical tuning of silicon waveguides, increasing the spectral efficiency in an interconnect link. Looking forward, we shall also discuss some of the challenges that still need to be overcome to realize an integrated a-Si:H based photonic link.
Record URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1850/14381
Date: 2011-05

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