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Ultrahigh-Q silicon racetrack resonators

Proposed ultrahigh-Q silicon racetrack resonator.

As a basic optical element, micro-resonator has been playing an important role in the field of silicon photonics. Ultra-high-Q and compact micro-resonators are recognized as the key for many functional devices for optical filtering, lasering, optical modulation/switching and all-optical photonics. Unfortunately, it is still challenging to realize compact silicon micro-resonators with Q>106 because silicon photonic waveguides fabricated with standard CMOS processes usually have a propagation loss of >1 dB/cm.

In order to solve the problem, Prof. Daoxin Dai's group from the College of Optical Science and Engineering at Zhejiang University, China, has proposed and demonstrated ultrahigh-Q silicon racetrack resonators with novel designs, which was published in Photonics Research, Vol. 8, Issue 5, 2020 (Long Zhang, Lanlan Jie, Ming Zhang, Yi Wang, Yiwei Xie, Yaocheng Shi, Daoxin Dai. Ultrahigh-Q silicon racetrack resonators[J]. Photonics Research, 2020, 8(5): 05000684).

In order to achieve ultra-high-Q resonator, the key is to realize ultra-low-loss optical waveguides. For silicon photonic waveguides, the propagation loss is mainly from the sidewall scattering, which can be reduced possibly by using a wide waveguide because the field intensity at the sidewalls can be minimized. However, the core width is usually limited by the singlemode condition. In this work, a uniform multimode silicon photonic waveguides, which is much wider than a regular singlemode silicon strip waveguide, was introduced for the first time and an ultra-high-Q silicon race-track resonator was proposed and realized.

In particular, the multimode waveguide bends (MWBs) in the race-track resonator are designed with modified-Euler curves, so that no inter-mode coupling happens when light propagates along the race-track resonator even when the effective bending radius for the MWBs is small. Furthermore, an asymmetric bent directional coupler, which is designed according to the phase-matching condition, is used to achieve the selective mode-coupling for the fundamental mode. In this way no higher-order mode is excited in the race-track, while the fundamental-mode is excited and propagates in the multimode race-track resonator with ultra-low loss and low inter-mode coupling. As a result, the resonance in the multimode silicon racetrack resonators is generated for the fundamental mode only. The present high-Q resonator is realized with a simple standard single-etching process provided by a multi-project-wafer foundry. The fabricated device, which has a measured intrinsic Q-factor as high as 2.3×106, is the smallest silicon resonators with a >106 Q-factor.

Prof. Dai believes that this work is of great significance to promote the development of high-performance silicon photonic devices, such as optical filters and nonlinear photonic devices. In addition, the design strategy can be easily applied to other optical waveguides based on silicon nitride, lithium niobite, etc., which is the next step in the near future. Furthermore, more applications of such high-performance photonic devices will be explored.

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硅光波导微腔是硅光领域的核心结构之一,对于实现光滤波、激光器、光调制器、光开关、全光调控器件等功能至关重要。众所周知,更高Q值的突破一直是微腔领域的基础问题,也是决定其能否满足应用需求的关键因素。然而,利用标准工艺制作的硅光波导往往由于存在较强侧壁散射而具有较大传输损耗(>1 dB/cm),致使硅光波导微腔Q值一直很难突破106

针对这一问题,来自浙江大学光电科学与工程学院的戴道锌教授团队报道了超高Q硅基跑道型微腔的研究成果,论文发表于Photonics Research 2020年第5期(Long Zhang, Lanlan Jie, Ming Zhang, Yi Wang, Yiwei Xie, Yaocheng Shi, Daoxin Dai. Ultrahigh-Q silicon racetrack resonators[J]. Photonics Research, 2020, 8(5): 05000684)。

该研究工作突破了单模条件设计框架,设计出一种基于均匀宽波导模场调控的超高Q跑道型微腔。首先,通过创新性地引入特殊的欧拉曲线型弯曲宽波导,在获得超小等效弯曲半径的同时,成功避免了腔内模间交叉耦合,有效保证了宽波导中基模的单模传输;其次,采用非对称弯曲耦合结构,基于相位匹配原理,获得了足够强的基模耦合,并几乎完全抑制了宽波导中高阶模的激发。在此设计中,通过宽波导模场调控的方法显著降低了侧壁散射损耗,获得了超低损耗的基模光场传输,从而实现超高Q硅基跑道型微腔。此外,该设计无需任何特殊工艺,具有完全的工艺兼容性。在该工作中,采用标准流片工艺成功研制了本征Q高达2.3×106的硅基跑道型微腔,其弯曲部分等效半径Reff仅29 μm、自由光谱范围FSR为0.9 nm,是目前报道最小尺寸的Q>106的硅光波导微腔。


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