Abstract

We report on a Si3N4-based surface-passivation technique for increasing free-carrier lifetimes in submicrometer silicon-on-insulator waveguides by up to 2 orders of magnitude. The carrier lifetime was measured by injecting free carriers into a critically coupled ring resonator through photoexcitation by short pump pulses and subsequently tracking the spectral detuning of the resonator during the carrier-recombination phase. Carrier lifetimes of up to 70ns were obtained in waveguides passivated with a 45-nm-thick Si3N4 coating. Such surface passivation is essential for low-power operation of optical switches based on carrier injection.

© 2009 Optical Society of America

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