Luigi Sirleto Istituto di Ricerca per l'Elettromagnetismo e i Co (Italy) Mario Iodice Istituto per la Microelettronica e Microsistemi (Italy) Ivo Rendina Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (Italy) Francesco Giuseppe Della Corte Univ. degli Studi Mediterranea di Reggio Calabria (Italy)
The performances of a digital optical switch, operating at the infrared communications wavelength of 1550 nm and based on the thermo-optic effect in amorphous silicon, are investigated for the first time. We prove that the strong thermo-optic effect of amorphous silicon, combined with the possibility of realizing micrometric integrated structures, allows the design of promising integrated switches. The device, designed for low-cost photonic applications, could be easily integrated in silicon optoelectronic circuits.