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12 August 2008 Thermo-optic switching using liquid-core waveguides in integrated Mach-Zehnder interferometers in silica-on-silicon
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Proceedings Volume 7099, Photonics North 2008; 70990Z (2008)
Event: Photonics North 2008, 2008, Montréal, Canada
The use of materials with a high thermo-optic coefficient would lead to significant improvements in energy consumption and thermal management in optical switching and sensing devices. Most liquids rank among materials having the highest thermo-optic coefficients, along with polymers and silicon. We have developed technology to directly incorporate liquids in integrated silica-on-silicon photonic device structures. Using this technology, we demonstrate experimentally integrated Mach-Zehnder interferometers (MZIs) comprising a liquid-core waveguide in one of the interferometer arms. Because of the large differential between the thermo-optic coefficients of silica and the liquid medium, the output of this device can be modulated through the thermal control of the device chip. A high contrast ratio (more than 20 dB) in the interferometer output modulation is obtained, demonstrating that the optical loss is well balanced between the two interferometer paths. The temperature variation required to fully cycle the output state is less than 0.5 degrees Celsius. Designs for low power thermo-optic switches based on these MZI structures with integrated heating electrodes are presented. The inclusion of a second liquid-core waveguide in the "passive" interferometer arm can enable athermal and polarization insensitive devices.
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Patrick Dumais, Claire L. Callender, Julian P. Noad, and Christopher J. Ledderhof "Thermo-optic switching using liquid-core waveguides in integrated Mach-Zehnder interferometers in silica-on-silicon", Proc. SPIE 7099, Photonics North 2008, 70990Z (12 August 2008);

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