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Effect of dielectric claddings on the electro-optic behavior of silicon waveguides

Abstract

We fabricate silicon waveguides in silicon-on-insulator (SOI) wafers clad with either silicon dioxide, silicon nitride, or aluminum oxide and, by measuring their electro-optic behavior, we characterize the capacitively induced free-carrier effect. By comparing our results with simulations, we confirm that the observed voltage dependences of the transmission spectra are due to changes in the concentrations of holes and electrons within the semiconductor waveguides and show how strongly these effects depend on the cladding material that comes into contact with the waveguide. Waveguide loss is additionally found to have a high sensitivity to the applied voltage, suggesting that these effects may find use in applications that require low- or high-loss propagation. These phenomena, which are present in all semiconductor waveguides, may be incorporated into more complex waveguide designs in the future to create high-efficiency electro-optic modulators and wavemixers.

© 2016 Optical Society of America

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