Mid-Infrared Photonics in Silicon

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Mid-Infrared Photonics in Silicon

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Title: Mid-Infrared Photonics in Silicon
Author: Shankar, Raji
Citation: Shankar, Raji. 2013. Mid-Infrared Photonics in Silicon. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University.
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Abstract: The mid-infrared wavelength region (2-20 µm) is of great utility for a number of applications, including chemical bond spectroscopy, trace gas sensing, and medical diagnostics. Despite this wealth of applications, the on-chip mid-IR photonics platform needed to access them is relatively undeveloped. Silicon is an attractive material of choice for the mid-IR, as it exhibits low loss through much of the mid-IR. Using silicon allows us to take advantage of well-developed fabrication techniques and CMOS compatibility, making the realization of on-chip integrated mid-IR devices more realistic. The mid-IR wavelengths also afford the opportunity to exploit Si's high third-order optical nonlinearity for nonlinear frequency generation applications. In this work, we present a Si-based platform for mid-IR photonics, with a special focus on micro-resonators for strong on-chip light confinement in the 4-5 μm range. Additionally, we develop experimental optical characterization techniques to overcome the inherent difficulties of working in this wavelength regime. First, we demonstrate the design, fabrication, and characterization of photonic crystal cavities in a silicon membrane platform, operational at 4.4 μm (Chapter 2). By transferring the technique known as resonant scattering to the mid-IR, we measure quality (Q) factors of up to 13,600 in these photonic crystal cavities. We also develop a technique known as scanning resonant scattering microscopy to image our cavity modes and optimize alignment to our devices. Next, we demonstrate the electro-optic tuning of these mid-IR Si photonic crystal cavities using gated graphene (Chapter 3). We demonstrate a tuning of about 4 nm, and demonstrate the principle of on-chip mid-IR modulation using these devices. We then investigate the phenomenon of optical bistability seen in our photonic crystal cavities (Chapter 4). We discover that our bistability is thermal in origin and use post-processing techniques to mitigate bistability and increase Q-factors. We then demonstrate the design, fabrication, and characterization grating-coupled ring resonators in a silicon-on-sapphire (SOS) platform at 4.4 μm, achieving intrinsic Q-factors as high as 278,000 in these devices (Chapter 5). Finally, we provide a quantitative analysis of the potential of our SOS devices for nonlinear frequency generation and describe ongoing experiments in this regard (Chapter 6).
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Citable link to this page: http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:11051174
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