Silicon photonics meet most fabrication requirements of standard CMOS process lines encompassing the photonics-electronics consolidation vision. Despite this remarkable progress, further miniaturization of PICs for common integration with electronics and for increasing PIC functional density is bounded by the inherent diffraction limit of light imposed by optical waveguides. Instead, Surface Plasmon Polariton (SPP) waveguides can guide light at sub-wavelength scales at the metal surface providing unique light-matter interaction properties, exploiting at the same time their metallic nature to naturally integrate with electronics in high-performance ASPICs.
In this article, we demonstrate the main goals of the recently introduced H2020 project PlasmoFab towards addressing the ever increasing needs for low energy, small size and high performance mass manufactured PICs by developing a revolutionary yet CMOS-compatible fabrication platform for seamless co-integration of plasmonics with photonic and supporting electronic. We demonstrate recent advances on the hosting SiN photonic hosting platform reporting on low-loss passive SiN waveguide and Grating Coupler circuits for both the TM and TE polarization states. We also present experimental results of plasmonic gold thin-film and hybrid slot waveguide configurations that can allow for high-sensitivity sensing, providing also the ongoing activities towards replacing gold with Cu, Al or TiN metal in order to yield the same functionality over a CMOS metallic structure. Finally, the first experimental results on the co-integrated SiN+plasmonic platform are demonstrated, concluding to an initial theoretical performance analysis of the CMOS plasmo-photonic biosensor that has the potential to allow for sensitivities beyond 150000nm/RIU.