Abstract

We rigorously analyze nonlinear propagation in hybrid silicon-plasmonic (HSP) waveguides. Focusing on the relative importance of Kerr and free carrier effects (FCE) originating from two-photon absorption, we establish a set of figures of merit applicable to any silicon-comprising waveguide. An optimized HSP design is proposed, deeply confining the optical field in a nanosized nonlinear polymer gap formed between a metal wedge and an underlying silicon wire. An exceptionally high nonlinear parameter γ>104m1W1 is attained, combined with an FCE power threshold larger than 1 W, even in CW. The formulation is also extended to multimode waveguides, supported by two all-optical applications of an HSP nonlinear directional coupler.

© 2013 Optical Society of America

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