Infrared absorption photoinduced by visible light in a-SixC1-x:H is characterized by in guide pump and probe measurements in order to test its applicability to a low-cost micromodulator, fully integrable as a post-processing on-top of a standard microelectronic chip. The Photoinduced Absorption phenomenon in amorphous silicon arises from an alteration of the defect state population by decay of carriers photogenerated by visible light. These levels, deep in the gap, are strongly involved in interactions with IR radiation, and then the VIS illumination modifies their optical properties by increasing the IR absorption coefficient value. Test waveguiding devices are fabricated by Plasma Enhanced Chemical Vapour Deposition on silicon wafers, at temperatures lower than 180°C, and consist of a a-SiC:H/oxide stack. In particular, devices having a-SixC1-x:H cores with different doping and different carbon concentration are characterized. The 1.55 μm probe radiation generated by a DFB laser diode is efficiently transmitted through the a-SixC1-x core thanks to the step index waveguide structure. The pump system consists of low cost AlInGaP LEDs pulsed by a function generator, for an illumination intensity ranging from 0.15 up to 0.85 mW/mm2. Results show that the modulation effect increase for longer pump penetration depth and for higher doping concentration. The phenomenon strongly depends on the carbon introduction in a-Si:H. Digital transmissions tests at 300 kbit/s were performed.
Photoinduced absorption by VIS radiation in a-Si:H has been studied in-guide, in order to realise a novel all-optical waveguide micromodulator for application at 1.3 and 1.55 μm fiber communication wavelengths. In a-Si:H the photoinduced effects and the NIR absorption both involve dangling bonds states. The density of these states, deep in the gap, can be varied with doping. Therefore three waveguide prototypes have been fabricated by Plasma Enhanced Chemical Vapour Deposition on a silicon wafer. Their structure consist of a a-Si:H/SiO2 stack where the a-Si:H cores have different doping. The upper cladding is air. Optical measures on the core materials and signal transmission analysis in-guide at bit rates up to 200 kBit/s have been carried out. The excitation source of the VIS pump system for in-guide analysis consisted of simple, low cost AlInGaP LED’s controlled by a pulse generator. The pump and probe measures have been performed with different pump wavelengths and by varying the illumination intensity. LED’s with wavelengths of 644, 612, 590 and 571 nm have been alternatively used. For each pump wavelength, the light intensity was varied between 0,15 and 0,85 mW/mm2.
The results confirms that the optical modulation of the NIR signal enhances at high doping levels and for longer wavelengths. The modulation speed is probably limited by recombination phenomena.