Hybrid photonic integration allows individual components to be developed at their best-suited material platforms without sacrificing the overall performance. In the past few years a polymer-enabled hybrid integration platform has been established, comprising 1) EO polymers for constructing low-complexity and low-cost Mach-Zehnder modulators (MZMs) with extremely high modulation bandwidth; 2) InP components for light sources, detectors, and high-speed electronics including MUX drivers and DEMUX circuits; 3) Ceramic (AIN) RF board that links the electronic signals within the package. On this platform, advanced optoelectronic modules have been demonstrated, including serial 100 Gb/s  and 2x100 Gb/s  optical transmitters, but also 400 Gb/s optoelectronic interfaces for intra-data center networks . To expand the device functionalities to an unprecedented level and at the same time improve the integration compatibility with diversified active / passive photonic components, we have added a passive polymer-based photonic board (polyboard) as the 4th material system. This passive polyboard allows for low-cost fabrication of single-mode waveguide networks, enables fast and convenient integration of various thin-film elements (TFEs) to control the light polarization, and provides efficient thermo-optic elements (TOEs) for wavelength tuning, light amplitude regulation and light-path switching.
We demonstrate a flexible multi-format vector modulator for coherent passive optical network (PON) architectures based on a non-interferometric cascade of a Semiconductor Optical Amplifier (SOA) and an Electro-Absorption Modulator (EAM) that exhibits increased simplicity and high energy-efficiency at low cost. 12- and 16- Quadrature Amplitude Modulation (QAM) constellations are generated, achieving modulation efficiencies of 3.6 and 4 bits/symbol respectively. The presented results demonstrate successful transmission over 25 km of fiber below the Forward Error Correction (FEC) limit, with sufficient compatible loss-budgets, making the proposed modulator concept an attractive candidate for urban network deployments, where high user density demands spectrally efficient formats. In addition, we describe the operation principle of the proposed modulator in detail and finally, the complete set of the digital signal processing (DSP) functionalities and algorithms that follow the standard coherent detection scheme is given, emphasizing on novel methods for QAM signal demodulation with uncommon constellation diagrams.