The development of silicon-organic hybrid (SOH) and plasmonic-organic hybrid (POH) electro-optic modulators in the 2010s has enabled the large electro-optic (EO) performance of organic chromophores to be leveraged for high-performance photonic components capable of integration with CMOS electronics. However, hybrid devices also present unique design considerations for maximizing material performance, including electrode-chromophore interactions, minimization of leak-through current, and maintaining material performance through all important processing and packaging steps. We report materials with an uncompromising combination of EO performance and thermal stability, as well as development of a new generation of materials and advances in processing techniques required to implement them for classical and quantum computing and networking applications.
Recent developments in hybrid electro-optic (EO) systems, in which an organic material with an ultra-large second-order susceptibility is combined with silicon (SOH) or gold (POH) waveguides at the nanoscale. Tight confinement of the optical and RF fields in such devices has enabled operating frequencies > 300 GHz and voltage-length parameters (UπL) < 40 V-μm with existing high-performance organic electro-optic (OEO) materials. However, achieving UπL values on the order of 1 V-μm will require a new generation of OEO materials. The short path lengths within hybrid devices greatly alleviate concerns about optical loss, enabling development of OEO chromophores with extraordinarily large hyperpolarizabilities and refractive indices at telecom wavelengths. However, as device dimensions shrink, chromophore-surface interactions, space-efficiency, and refractive index anisotropy become more critical. Practical device implementations also require materials with high thermal and chemical stability and uncompromising EO performance. We have used a theory-aided design process applying classical and quantum mechanical techniques to design a new generation of OEO materials intended to meet the needs of hybrid devices. We have synthesized these materials, characterized their hyperpolarizability by hyper-Rayleigh scattering, and evaluated their bulk electro-optic behavior and prospects for implementation in nanoscale devices.