All-optical switches based on optical carrier injection in high-index-contrast Si/SiO2 split-ridge-waveguide (SRW) couplers are analyzed. The waveguide devices are suitable for the construction of low-loss optical switch matrices as well as fast optical switching. These devices exhibit robustness against fabrication tolerances, improved heat sinking, good carrier confinement, and high uniformity in transmission over the entire C-band of optical communications, in contrast to comparable devices based on buried or ridge waveguides. Reasonably low electrical switching power of 1-10 mW is predicted for switching frequencies of 1 MHz to 1 GHz. Carrier recombination measurements in thin Si layers passivated with different oxide layers confirm the feasibility of the designed switches and modulators.
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