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Authors: W. Bogaerts, P. Dumon, J. Wouters, P. Jaenen, S. Beckx, V. Wiaux, D. Van Thourhout, D. Taillaert, B. Luyssaert, R. Baets
Title: Silicon-on-Insulator Nanophotonics
Format: International Conference Proceedings
Publication date: 11/2005
Journal/Conference/Book: SPIE Optics and Optoelectronics (invited)
Editor/Publisher: SPIE, 
Volume(Issue): 5956 p.5956R-1-15
Location: Warsaw, Poland
Citations: Look up on Google Scholar
Download: Download this Publication (758KB) (758KB)


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.

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