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19 September 2011 Graphene optical modulator
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Data communications have been growing at a speed even faster than Moore's Law, with a 44-fold increase expected within the next 10 years. Data Transfer on such scale would have to recruit optical communication technology and inspire new designs of light sources, modulators, and photodetectors. An ideal optical modulator will require high modulation speed, small device footprint and large operating bandwidth. Silicon modulators based on free carrier plasma dispersion effect and compound semiconductors utilizing direct bandgap transition have seen rapid improvement over the past decade. One of the key limitations for using silicon as modulator material is its weak refractive index change, which limits the footprint of silicon Mach-Zehnder interferometer modulators to millimeters. Other approaches such as silicon microring modulators reduce the operation wavelength range to around 100 pm and are highly sensitive to typical fabrication tolerances and temperature fluctuations. Growing large, high quality wafers of compound semiconductors, and integrating them on silicon or other substrates is expensive, which also restricts their commercialization. In this work, we demonstrate that graphene can be used as the active media for electroabsorption modulators. By tuning the Fermi energy level of the graphene layer, we induced changes in the absorption coefficient of graphene at communication wavelength and achieve a modulation depth above 3 dB. This integrated device also has the potential of working at high speed.
© (2011) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Ming Liu, Xiaobo Yin, Feng Wang, and Xiang Zhang "Graphene optical modulator", Proc. SPIE 8101, Carbon Nanotubes, Graphene, and Associated Devices IV, 81010J (19 September 2011);


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