Abstract

A photonic differentiator (DIFF) plays a crucial role in photonic circuits. Despite the fact that a DIFF having a terahertz bandwidth has been reported, the practical bandwidth is limited to being a bandpass response. In this Letter, we propose the concept of a bandwidth-adaptable DIFF, which exploits the slow light effect in a photonic crystal waveguide (PhCW) to overcome the inherent bandwidth limitation of current photonic DIFFs. We fabricated a PhCW Mach–Zehnder interferometer (PhCW-MZI) on the silicon-on-isolator material platform to validate our concept. Input Gaussian pulses with full width to half-maximums (FWHMs) ranging from 2.7 to 81.4 ps are accurately differentiated using our PhCW-MZI. Our all-passive scheme circumvents the bandwidth bottlenecks of previously reported photonic DIFFs and can greatly broaden the application area of photonic DIFFs.

© 2017 Optical Society of America

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