Abstract

Broadband mid-infrared (mid-IR) spectroscopy applications could greatly benefit from today’s well-developed, highly scalable silicon photonics technology; however, this platform lacks broadband transparency because of its reliance on absorptive silicon dioxide cladding. Alternative cladding materials have been studied, but the challenge lies in decreasing losses while avoiding complex fabrication techniques. Here, in contrast to traditional assumptions, we show that silicon photonics can achieve low-loss propagation in the mid-IR from 3 to 6 μm wavelength, thus providing a highly scalable, well-developed technology in this spectral range. We engineer the waveguide cross-section and optical mode interaction with the absorptive cladding oxide to reduce loss at mid-IR wavelengths. We fabricate a microring resonator and measure an intrinsic quality (Q) factor of 106 at wavelengths from 3.5 to 3.8 μm. This is the highest Q demonstrated on an integrated mid-IR platform to date. With this high-Q silicon microresonator, we also demonstrate a low optical parametric oscillation threshold of 5.2 mW, illustrating the utility of this platform for nonlinear chip-scale applications in the mid-IR.

© 2017 Optical Society of America

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2016 (4)

2015 (9)

X. Xue, Y. Xuan, Y. Liu, P.-H. Wang, S. Chen, J. Wang, D. E. Leaird, M. Qi, and A. M. Weiner, “Mode-locked dark pulse Kerr combs in normal-dispersion microresonators,” Nat. Photonics 9, 594–600 (2015).
[Crossref]

B. Kuyken, T. Ideguchi, S. Holzner, M. Yan, T. W. Hänsch, J. Van Campenhout, P. Verheyen, S. Coen, F. Leo, R. Baets, G. Roelkens, and N. Picqué, “An octave-spanning mid-infrared frequency comb generated in a silicon nanophotonic wire waveguide,” Nat. Commun. 6, 6310 (2015).
[Crossref]

A. G. Griffith, R. K. W. Lau, J. Cardenas, Y. Okawachi, A. Mohanty, R. Fain, Y. H. D. Lee, M. Yu, C. T. Phare, C. B. Poitras, A. L. Gaeta, and M. Lipson, “Silicon-chip mid-infrared frequency comb generation,” Nat. Commun. 6, 6299 (2015).
[Crossref]

N. Singh, D. D. Hudson, Y. Yu, C. Grillet, S. D. Jackson, A. Casas-Bedoya, A. Read, P. Atanackovic, S. G. Duvall, S. Palomba, B. Luther-Davies, S. Madden, D. J. Moss, and B. J. Eggleton, “Midinfrared supercontinuum generation from 2 to 6  um in a silicon nanowire,” Optica 2, 797–802 (2015).
[Crossref]

Y. Zou, S. Chakravarty, and R. T. Chen, “Mid-infrared silicon-on-sapphire waveguide coupled photonic crystal microcavities,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 107, 081109 (2015).
[Crossref]

L. Carletti, P. Ma, Y. Yu, B. Luther-Davies, D. Hudson, C. Monat, R. Orobtchouk, S. Madden, D. J. Moss, M. Brun, S. Ortiz, P. Labeye, S. Nicoletti, and C. Grillet, “Nonlinear optical response of low loss silicon germanium waveguides in the mid-infrared,” Opt. Express 23, 8261–8271 (2015).
[Crossref]

L. Shen, N. Healy, C. J. Mitchell, J. S. Penades, M. Nedeljkovic, G. Z. Mashanovich, and A. C. Peacock, “Mid-infrared all-optical modulation in low-loss germanium-on-silicon waveguides,” Opt. Lett. 40, 268–270 (2015).
[Crossref]

N. Singh, D. D. Hudson, and B. J. Eggleton, “Silicon-on-sapphire pillar waveguides for mid-IR supercontinuum generation,” Opt. Express 23, 17345–17354 (2015).
[Crossref]

A. A. Savchenkov, V. S. Ilchenko, F. D. Teodoro, P. M. Belden, W. T. Lotshaw, A. B. Matsko, and L. Maleki, “Generation of Kerr combs centered at 4.5  um in crystalline microresonators pumped with quantum-cascade lasers,” Opt. Lett. 40, 3468–3471 (2015).
[Crossref]

2014 (15)

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2012 (7)

C. Reimer, M. Nedeljkovic, D. J. M. Stothard, M. O. S. Esnault, C. Reardon, L. O’Faolain, M. Dunn, G. Z. Mashanovich, and T. F. Krauss, “Mid-infrared photonic crystal waveguides in silicon,” Opt. Express 20, 29361–29368 (2012).
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2011 (7)

2010 (5)

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2009 (3)

2007 (2)

P. Del’Haye, A. Schliesser, O. Arcizet, T. Wilken, R. Holzwarth, and T. J. Kippenberg, “Optical frequency comb generation from a monolithic microresonator,” Nature 450, 1214–1217 (2007).
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Figures (5)

Fig. 1.
Fig. 1. Simulated absorption losses for different waveguide cross-sectional geometries, including a traditional silicon photonic waveguide for this wavelength with cross-sectional dimensions 500nm×1400nm (as in [49]) as well as our air-clad waveguide with cross-sectional dimensions 2300nm×4000nm. The cladding oxide absorption, adapted from literature [9], is plotted in the blue curve. One can see that the air-clad geometry shows a 2 order-of-magnitude loss improvement compared with the oxide-clad geometry.
Fig. 2.
Fig. 2. (a) Optical microscope image of air-clad SOI microring resonator (radius=150μm). (b) SEM image of air-clad waveguides near the resonator coupling region.
Fig. 3.
Fig. 3. (a) Transmission spectrum of the air-clad microring resonator at 3.8 μm wavelength. (b) Measured (circles) and simulated (solid lines) intrinsic Q as a function of wavelength for our air-clad waveguide geometry (2300nm×4000nm) and for standard oxide-clad geometry (500nm×1400nm). There is good agreement between the trends for simulated and measured Q. One can see that the intrinsic Q depends weakly on wavelength between 3 and 4 μm, in contrast to the standard oxide-clad waveguide geometries.
Fig. 4.
Fig. 4. Theoretical wavelength dependence of microresonator Q (red), due to absorption loss (blue), scattering loss (green). Absorption is extracted from FEM simulations in Fig. 1. Scattering loss is estimated based on Ref. [55]. The intrinsic Q remains above 105 throughout the whole spectral range between 2 and 6 μm. Around 5 μm wavelength, the total intrinsic Q transitions from being scattering-limited to absorption-limited.
Fig. 5.
Fig. 5. (a) Simulated group velocity dispersion for the waveguide geometry used here (air-clad 2300nm×4000nm). (b) Optical parametric oscillation (OPO) threshold measurement, indicating a 5.2 mW oscillation threshold. Inset shows the OPO sidebands generated just above threshold.

Equations (2)

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Qi=2Ql1±T0,
Q=2πngλα,

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