Scaling Silicon Nanophotonic Interconnects : Silicon Electrooptic Modulators, Slowlight & Optomechanical Devices

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The ability to manipulate light has enabled robust growth of communications over the past 50 years. The energy spent by interconnects is now a major consideration for high performance computing, datacom servers and low carbon footprint telecommunications. Hence, it is of great interest to pursue novel devices for manipulating light. Silicon nanophotonics, which is the exploration of optical devices based in silicon compatible materials, has emerged as a powerful solution for providing the bandwidth for future communications. This thesis attempts at scaling the silicon nanophotonic interconnects to meet the future needs. The first key result of my thesis is an 18 Gbit/s micro-ring modulator. This is the fastest digital modulation speed shown in silicon micro-rings to date. In the first section of this thesis, I will show how to achieve very high speed modulation in silicon substrates using silicon micro-ring modulators. In the effort to optimize their performance I have shown the following key milestones: 1. Speed: 18 Gbit/s modulation in a silicon micro-ring modulator (MRM) 2. Robustness: 20 K temperature stability using a silicon micro-ring modulators 3. Size: 2.5 micron radius silicon micro ring modulator : Smallest MRM to date 4. Scalability: 50 Gbit/s modulation capacity using 4 WDM channels : Largest WDM modulation capacity using micro-rings 5. Low Voltage Swing: 150 mv swing voltage modulation in silicon microrings. 6. Long Haul: Error free transmission of 12.5 Gbit/s signal over 80 km on a standard single mode fiber. The second part of my thesis is on slow and fast light in silicon. Using two micro-rings coupled in a coherent fashion, I have shown the following: 7. Superluminal propagation on a silicon chip using double ring cavities. 8. Designed, fabricated and tested electro-optically tunable optical delay on a silicon micro-chip, electro-optically tunable variable quality factor cavities. The third part of my thesis explores the possibilities when MEMS and silicon photonics are put together. I have attempted two key problems : 9. Non-reciprocal devices in opto-mechanics. 10. Synchronization of frequency and phase in micromechanical devices using opto-mechanics.

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