Electronic interconnects are reaching their limit in terms of speed, dimensions and permissible power consumption. This has been a major concern in data centers and large scale computing platforms, creating limits to their scalability especially with respect to power consumption. Silicon photonic-electronic integration is viewed as a viable alternative that enables reliability, high efficiency, low cost and small footprint. In particular, silicon with its high refractive index, has enabled the integration a many individual optical elements (ring resonators) in small areas. Though silicon has a high thermo-optic coefficient (1.8×10^-4/°C) compared to silica, small thermal fluctuations can affect the optical performance especially for WDM applications. Therefore, a passive athermal solution for silicon photonic devices is required in order to reduce thermal sensitivity and power consumption. We have achieved this goal by replacing the silica top cladding with negative thermo-optic coefficient (TOC) materials. While polymers and titanium dioxide(titania) have a negative TOC, polymers can’t handle high temperature processing and titania needs very tight thickness control and expensive deposition under vacuum. In this work we propose to use a sol-gel inorganic-organic hybrid material that has the benefits of both worlds. We were able to find optimum curing conditions to athermalize ring resonators by studying various sol-gel curing times and curing temperatures. Our athermal rings operate in a wide temperature range from 5C – 100C with thermal shifts below 1pm/C and low loss. Furthermore, we demonstrate that our athermal approach does not deleteriously effect critical device parameters, such as insertion loss and resonator Q factors.
Soha Namnabat, Kyung-Jo Kim, Adam M. Jones, Roland Himmelhuber, Christopher T. DeRose, Andrew Pomerene, Tony L. Lentine, and Robert A. Norwood, "Subpicometer thermal shifts in silicon photonic micro-ring resonators with sol-gel claddings (Conference Presentation)," Proc. SPIE 10106, Integrated Optics: Devices, Materials, and Technologies XXI, 101061E (Presented at SPIE OPTO: February 02, 2017; Published: 19 April 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2251920.5393342297001.
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