1 May 2008 Optimization of Al2O3:Er3+ waveguide technology for active integrated optical devices
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Abstract
Amorphous Al2O3 is a promising host material for active integrated optical applications such as tunable rare-earth-ion-doped laser and amplifier devices. The fabrication of slab and channel waveguides has been investigated and optimized by exploiting reactive co-sputtering and ICP reactive ion etching, respectively. The Al2O3 layers are grown reliably and reproducibly on thermally oxidized Si-wafers at deposition rates of 2-4 nm/min. Optical loss of as-deposited planar waveguides as low as 0.11±0.05 dB/cm at 1.5-μm wavelength has been demonstrated. The channel waveguide fabrication is based on BCl3/HBr chemistry in combination with standard photoresist and lithography processes. Upon process optimization channel waveguides with up to 600-nm etch depth, smooth side walls and optical losses as low as 0.21±0.05 dB/cm have been realized. Rare-earth-ion doping has been investigated by co-sputtering from a metallic Er target during Al2O3 layer growth. At the relevant dopant levels (~1020 cm-3) lifetimes of the 4I13/2 level as high as 7 ms have been measured. Gain measurements have been carried out over 6.4-cm propagation length in a 700-nm-thick Er-doped Al2O3 waveguide. Net optical gain has been obtained over a 35-nm-wide wavelength range (1525-1560 nm) with a maximum of 4.9 dB.
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Kerstin Wörhoff, Jonathan Bradley, Feridun Ay, Dimitri Geskus, Tom Blauwendraat, Markus Pollnau, "Optimization of Al2O3:Er3+ waveguide technology for active integrated optical devices", Proc. SPIE 6996, Silicon Photonics and Photonic Integrated Circuits, 699618 (1 May 2008); doi: 10.1117/12.781066; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.781066
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