Photonic Materials & Devices › Optical modulators

Optical modulators

Research activities

Our group was created in 2007 with the aim of developing high performance silicon photonic devices, essentially for telecom and datacom applications. To cover most of the topics related to silicon photonics integration, our work has a strong focus on both active and passive devices as well as on efficient fiber-to-chip coupling techniques.

One of our main areas of expertise is the development of silicon optical modulators based on the plasma dispersion effect for both digital and analog transmission. Several performance-enhancing device architectures such as ring resonators, ring-assisted Mach-Zehnder interferometers (RAMZI), as well as slow wave MZI modulators have been successfully demonstrated with data rates up to 40Gb/s. Furthermore, reconfigurable silicon electro-optical switching matrices for enabling next-generation photonic network-on-chip (NoC) are also covered within this research line.

On the other hand, a great emphasis has been given to the optimization of basic building blocks such as low loss photonic waveguides (stripe, rib, slot), high efficiency coupling structures, high performance slow-wave photonic structures, polarization diversity schemes, ring resonators, switching structures and (de)multiplexing structures. Recently, we have also started activities in silicon-based plasmonics to improve the performance of photonic devices by exploiting the extreme intensity and confinement of plasmon fields. Furthermore, the integration of novel materials with silicon photonics to enhance electro-optical functionalities is also becoming a key activity in our group.

In the last years, we have also been extending our know-how in silicon photonics to contribute to the development of the next generation of photonic systems for key applications such as low cost and power efficient silicon transceivers and networks-on-chip for on-chip optical communications. Following this path, the exploitation of silicon photonic for enabling the generation of advanced high spectral efficiency modulation formats (OFDM, DQPSK, M-QAM…) are also part of our internal roadmap.


Figure: Cycle of novel silicon photonic device prototypes

The optical and electrical designing tools together with our CMOS clean room facilities and electro-optical characterization benches allow a fast design-fabrication-characterization cycle of novel silicon photonic device prototypes. Following this closed-loop procedure enables us to cover the issues related to each stage of the entire process, from the very initial physical design to the final target functionality. In line with NTC’s technology transfer effort policy, we are strongly committed to strengthen our competitiveness in the cutting-edge research field of silicon photonics by designing devices with potentially high added-value, and by improving constantly our characterization techniques.