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30 September 2005 Silicon-on-insulator nanophotonics
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Nanophotonics promise a dramatic scale reduction compared to contemporary photonic components. This allows the integration of many functions onto a chip. Silicon-on-insulator (SOI) is an ideal material for nanophotonics. It consists of a thin layer of silicon on top of an oxide buffer. In combination with high-resolution lithography, one can define a high refractive index contrast both in horizontally and vertically, resulting in a tight confinement of light. Moreover, SOI can be processed with industrial tools now used for silicon microelectronics. There are two candidates for nanophotonic waveguides. Photonic wires are basically conventional waveguides with reduced dimensions and a high refractive index contrast. These waveguides with submicron dimensions can have bend radii of only a few micrometres. The alternative is to use photonic crystals, which confine light by the photonic band gap effect. Introducing defects in a photonic crystal creates waveguides and other functional components. To make nanophotonics commercially viably, mass-manufacturing technology is needed. While e-beam lithography delivers the required accuracy for nanophotonic structures, it is too slow. We have used deep-UV lithography, used for advanced CMOS fabrication, to make nanophotonic waveguides. The fabrication quality is very good, which translates to low propagation losses. E.g. a 500nm (single-mode) photonic wire has a propagation loss of only 0.24dB/mm. Using these low-loss waveguides, we have implemented a variety of nanophotonic components, including ring resonators and arrayed waveguide gratings.
© (2005) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Wim Bogaerts, Pieter Dumon, Patrick Jaenen, Johan Wouters, Stephan Beckx, Vincent Wiaux, Dries Van Thourhout, Dirk Taillaert, Bert Luyssaert, and Roel Baets "Silicon-on-insulator nanophotonics", Proc. SPIE 5956, Integrated Optics: Theory and Applications, 59560R (30 September 2005);

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