In a three-level system, actively detuning coupling strength between the respective waveguide modes via electrically gating the graphene double-layer allows ultra-fast switching of light propagating through the outer waveguides. In adiabatic elimination regime, the amplitude of the middle waveguide oscillates much faster in comparison to the outer waveguides leading to a vanishing field build up. As a result, the middle waveguide becomes a dark state and hence a low insertion-loss of 1 dB is obtained. Due to the direct dependency of applied voltage with respect to the absorption in graphene, sub-volt operation with modulation-depth of 5 dB is expected.
Graphene has extraordinary electro-optic properties and is therefore a promising candidate for monolithic photonic devices such as photodetectors. However, the integration of this atom-thin layer material with bulky photonic components usually results in a weak light-graphene interaction leading to large device lengths limiting electro-optic performance. In contrast, here we demonstrate a plasmonic slot graphene photodetector on silicon-on-insulator platform with high-responsivity given the 5 µm-short device length. We observe that the maximum photocurrent, and hence the highest responsivity, scales inversely with the slot width. Using a dual-lithography step, we realize 15 nm narrow slots that show a 15-times higher responsivity per unit device-length compared to photonic graphene photodetectors. Furthermore, we reveal that the back-gated electrostatics is overshadowed by channel-doping contributions induced by the contacts of this ultra-short channel graphene photodetector. This leads to quasi charge neutrality, which explains both the previously-unseen offset between the maximum photovoltaic-based photocurrent relative to graphene’s Dirac point and the observed non-ambipolar transport. Such micrometer compact and absorption-efficient photodetectors allow for short-carrier pathways in next-generation photonic components, while being an ideal testbed to study short-channel carrier physics in graphene optoelectronics.
With success of silicon photonics having mature to foundry-readiness, the intrinsic limitations of the weak electro-optic effects in Silicon limit further device development. To overcome this, heterogeneous integration of emerging electrooptic materials into Si or SiN platforms are a promising path to deliver <1fJ/bit device-level efficiency, 50+Ghz fast switching, and <10's um^2 compact footprints. Graphene's Pauli blocking enables intriguing opportunities for device performance to include broadband absorption, unity-strong index modulation, low contact resistance. Similarly, ITO has shown ENZ behavior, and tunability for EOMs or EAMs. Here we review recent modulator advances all heterogeneously integrated on Si or SiN such as a) a DBR-enabled photonic 60 GHz graphene EAM, b) a hybrid plasmon graphene EAM of 100aJ/bit efficiency, d) the first ITO-based MZI showing a VpL = 0.52 V-mm, and e) a plasmonic ITO MZI with a record low VpL = 11 V-um. We conclude by discussing modulator scaling laws for a roadmap to achieve 10's aJ/bit devices.
Graphene, as the first identified two dimensional material, has shown great electro-optic response via Pauli-blocking for near IR frequencies and modulating functionality. However, this ability to modulate light is fundamentally challenged by its small optical cross-section leading to miniscule modal confinement factors in diffraction-limited photonics despite intrinsically high electro-optic absorption modulation (EAM) potential given by its strong index change. Yet the inherent polarization anisotropy in graphene and device tradeoffs lead to additional requirements with respect to electric field directions and modal confinement. The extinction ratio of graphene based EAM has, so far, been limited due to the small light matter interaction given the monolayer structure nature. Here we report an ultra-compact graphene based EAM by integrating graphene with a plasmonic slot waveguide. We show that the modal confinement and hence the modulation strength of a single-layer modulated graphene in this plasmonically confined mode is able to improve by more than 10x compared to diffraction-limited modes. Combined with the strong-index modulation of graphene the modulation strength could achieve more than 1dB/um, which is more than 2-orders of magnitude higher compared to Silicon platform graphene modulators. Furthermore, the modal confinement was found to be synergistic with performance optimization via enhanced light-matter-interactions. These results show that there is room for scaling 2D material EAMs with respect to modal engineering towards realizing synergistic designs leading to high-performance modulators.