SILICON PHOTONICS
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#1
31-01-2009, 12:50 AM


Silicon photonics can be defined as the utilization of silicon-based materials for the generation (electrical-to-optical conversion), guidance, control, and detection (optical-to-electrical conversion) of light to communicate information over distance. The most advanced extension of this concept is to have a comprehensive set of optical and electronic functions available to the designer as monolithically integrated building blocks upon a single silicon substrate.

Within the range of fibre optic telecommunication wavelength (1.3 ?m to 1.6 ?m), silicon is nearly transparent and generally does not interact with the light, making it an exceptional medium for guiding optical data streams between active components. But no practical modification to silicon has yet been conceived which gives efficient generation of light. Thus it required the light source as an external component which was a drawback.

There are two parallel approaches being pursued for achieving opto-electronic integration in silicon. The first is to look for specific cases where close integration of an optical component and an electronic circuit can improve overall system performance. One such case would be to integrate a SiGe photodetector with a Complementary Metal-Oxide-Semiconductor (CMOS) transimpedance amplifier. The second is to achieve a high level of photonic integration with the goal of maximizing the level of optical functionality and optical performance. This is possible by increasing light emitting efficiency if silicon. The paper basically deals with this aspect.
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#2
08-06-2010, 01:11 PM

hey
please read topicideashow-to-silicon-in-photonics-full-report and topicideashow-to-silicon-photonics--1315 for getting more information of Silicon photonics


i hope you enjoyed it
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#3
02-08-2010, 06:03 PM

What is Silicon Photonics? Pros and Cons of
Si for Photonics

Integrated photonics is a main candidate as photonic technology to provide the
various demands of numerous fi elds such as communication, computing, imaging,
and sensing. Here, the small optical and electronic elements are combined together through a common substrate by means of metal lines and optical waveguides (WGs). In short, Silicon photonics is the study and application of photonic systems which use silicon as an optical medium. with standard CMOS manufacturing equipment and processes, the Silicon photonics can produce and test the optical devices and circuits. silicon on insulator based silicon photonics have created lot of attention.The Kerr effect, the Raman effect, two photon absorption affetcs the light propagation thrugh the silicon devices besides the interactions between photons and free charge carriers.

Applications
1)Optical interconnects
electronic and optical components can be integrated on the same chip using the high speed optical interconnects.

2)Optical routers and signal processors

Uisng this , all-optical signal processing can be done directly in optical form as against doing it in the electronic form.

3)Long Range Telecommunications using Silicon Photonics

scaling of the internet bandwidth capacity can be done using micro-scale, ultra low power devices. The datacenters may consume significantly less power in this way.

Physical properties
The physical properties that the silicon photonic devices have are:
-Optical guiding and dispersion tailoring
-Kerr nonlinearity
-Two-photon absorption
-Free charge carrier interactions
-The Raman effect

For further details, refer these links:
en.wikipediawiki/Silicon_photonics
download-itfree_files/Pages%20from%20Chapter%2027%20-%20Silicon%20Photonics-c58bf084940b79f8832eef1a3874d12b.pdf
techresearch.intelarticles/Tera-Scale/1419.htm
domino.research.ibmcomm/research_project and implimentations.nsf/pages/photonics.index.html
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#4
15-03-2011, 09:20 AM

Silicon Photonics
Prasad.V.J, Vishnu.R.C
Mohandas College of Engineering and Technology, Anad, Thiruvananthapuram



.pdf   Silicon Photonics.pdf (Size: 415.76 KB / Downloads: 95)

Abstract
In its everlasting quest to deliver more data faster and on smaller components, the silicon industry is moving full
steam ahead towards its final frontiers of size, device integration and complexity. As the physical limitations of
metallic interconnects begin to threaten the semiconductor industry's future, researches are concentrated heavily on
advances in photonics that will lead to combining existing silicon infrastructure with optical communications
technology, and a merger of electronics and photonics into one integrated dual functional device. Optical
technology has always suffered from its reputation for being an expensive solution. This prompted research into
using more common materials, such as silicon, for the fabrication of photonic components, hence the name silicon
photonic.

Introduction
During the past few years, researchers at Intel have been
actively exploring the use of silicon as the primary basis
of photonic components. This research has established
Intel’s reputation in a specialized field called silicon
photonics, which appears poised to provide solutions
that break through longstanding limitations of silicon as
a material for fiber optics.
In a major advancement, Intel researchers have
developed a silicon-based optical modulator operating at
50 GHz - an increase of over 50 times the previous
research record of about 1GHz (initially 20MHz). This
is a significant step towards building optical devices that
move data around inside a computer at the speed of
light. It is the kind of breakthrough that ripples across an
industry over time, enabling other new devices and
applications. It could help make the Internet run faster,
build much faster high-performance computers and
enable high-bandwidth applications like ultra-high-
definition displays or vision recognition systems.
Intel’s research into silicon photonics is an end-to-end
program to extend Moore’s Law into new areas. In
addition to this research, Intel’s expertise in fabricating
processors from silicon could enable it to create
inexpensive, high performance photonic devices that
comprise numerous components integrated on one
silicon die. “Siliconizing” photonics to develop and
build optical devices in silicon has the potential to bring
PC economics to high-bandwidth optical
communications. Another advancement in silicon
photonics is the demonstration of the first continuous
silicon laser based on the Raman Effect. This research
breakthrough paves the way for making optical
amplifiers, lasers and wavelength converters to switch a
signal’s color in low-cost silicon.
Fiber optic communication is well established today due
to the great capacity and reliability it provides.
However, the technology has suffered from a reputation
as an expensive solution. This view is based in large
part on the high cost of the hardware components. These
components are typically fabricated using exotic
materials that are expensive to manufacture. In addition,
these components tend to be specialized and require
complex steps to assemble and package. These
limitations prompted Intel to research the construction
of fiber-optic components from other materials, such as
silicon. The vision of silicon photonics arose from the
research performed in this area. Its overarching goal is
to develop high-volume, low-cost optical components
using standard CMOS processing – the same
manufacturing process used for microprocessors and
semiconductor devices

What Is Silicon Photonics?
Photonics is the field of study that deals with light,
especially the development of components for optical
communications. It is the hardware aspect of fiber
optics, and due to commercial demand for bandwidth, it
has enjoyed considerable expansion and development
during the past decade. Fiber-optic communication, as
most people know, is the process of transporting data at
high speeds using light, which travels to its destination
on a glass fiber. Fiber optics is well established today
due to the great capacity and reliability it provides.
However, fiber optics has suffered from its reputation as
an expensive solution. This view is based in large part
on the high price of the hardware components. Optical
devices typically have been made from exotic materials
such as gallium arsenide, lithium niobate, and indium
phosphide that are complicated to process. In addition,
many photonic devices today are hand assembled and
often require active or manual alignment to connect the
components and fibers onto the devices. This non-
automated process tends to contribute significantly to
the cost of these optical devices.

Silicon photonics research at Intel hopes to establish that
manufacturing processes using silicon can overcome
some of these limitations. Intel’s goal is to manufacture
and sell optical devices that are made out of easy-to-
manufacture silicon. Silicon has numerous qualities that
make it a desirable material for constructing small, low-
cost optical components: it is a relatively inexpensive,
plentiful, and well understood material for producing
electronic devices. In addition, due to the longstanding
use of silicon in the semiconductor industry, the
fabrication tools by which it can be processed into small
components are commonly available today. Because
Intel has more than 35 years of experience in silicon and
device fabrication, it finds a natural fit in exploring the
design and development of silicon photonics.
Silicon photonics is the study and application
of photonic systems which use silicon as an optical
medium. It can be simply defined as the photonic
technology based on silicon chips. Silicon photonics can
be defined as the utilization of silicon-based materials
for the generation (electrical-to-optical conversion),
guidance, control, and detection (optical-to-electrical
conversion) of light to communicate information over
distance. The most advanced extension of this concept is
to have a comprehensive set of optical and electronic
functions available to the designer as monolithically
integrated building blocks upon a single silicon
substrate.
The goal is to siliconize photonics-specifically to build
in silicon all the functions necessary for optical
transmission and reception of data. The goal is then to
integrate the resulting devices onto a single chip. An
analogy can be made that such optical chips hold the
same relationship to the individual components as
integrated circuits do to the transistors that constitute
them: they provide a complete unit that can be
manufactured easily and inexpensively using standard
silicon fabrication techniques. Intel has recently been
able to demonstrate basic feasibility to siliconize many
of the components needed for optical communication.
The most recent advance involves encoding high-speed
data on an optical beam.
There are two parallel approaches being pursued for
achieving optoelectronic integration in silicon. The first
is to look for specific cases where close integration of an
optical component and an electronic circuit can improve
overall system performance. One such case would be
to integrate a Si-Ge photo-detector with a
Complementary Metal-Oxide-Semiconductor
(CMOS) trans-impedance amplifier. The second is to
achieve a high level of photonic integration with the
goal of maximizing the level of optical functionality and
optical performance. This is possible by increasing light
emitting efficiency if silicon.


Why Silicon Photonics?
Fiber-optic communication is the process of transporting
data at high speeds on a glass fiber using light. Fiber
optic communication is well established today due to the
great capacity and reliability it provides. However, the
technology has suffered from a reputation as an
expensive solution. This view is based in large part on
the high cost of the hardware components. These
components are typically fabricated using exotic
materials that are expensive to manufacture. In addition,
these components tend to be specialized and require
complex steps to assemble and package.
These limitations prompted Intel to research the
construction of fiber-optic components from other
materials, such as silicon. The vision of silicon
photonics arose from the research performed in this
area. Its overarching goal is to develop high-volume,
low-cost optical components using standard CMOS
processing – the same manufacturing process used for
microprocessors and semiconductor devices.
Silicon presents a unique material for this research
because the techniques for processing it are well
understood and it demonstrates certain desirable
behaviors. For example, while silicon is opaque in the
visible spectrum, it is transparent at the Infra-red
wavelengths used in optical transmission, hence it can
guide light. Moreover, manufacturing silicon
components in high volume to the specifications needed
by optical communication is comparatively inexpensive.
Silicon’s key drawback is that it cannot emit laser light,
and so the lasers that drive optical communications have
been made of more exotic materials such as indium
phosphide and gallium arsenide. However, silicon can
be used to manipulate the light emitted by inexpensive
lasers so as to provide light that has characteristics
similar to more-expensive devices. This is just one way
in which silicon can lower the cost of photonics.
Silicon photonic devices can be made using
existing semiconductor fabrication techniques, and
because silicon is already used as the substrate for
most integrated circuits, it is possible to create hybrid
devices in which the optical and electronic
components are integrated onto a single microchip.
The propagation of light through silicon devices is
governed by a range of nonlinear optical phenomena
including the Kerr effect, the Raman effect, Two Photon
Absorption and interactions between photons and free
charge carriers. The presence of nonlinearity is of
fundamental importance, as it enables light to interact
with light, thus permitting applications such as
wavelength conversion and all-optical signal routing, in
addition to the passive transmission of light.
Within the range of fiber optic telecommunication
wavelength (1.3 µm to 1.6 µm), silicon is nearly
transparent and generally does not interact with the
light, making it an exceptional medium for guiding
optical data streams between active components. Also
optical data transmission allows for much higher data
rates and would at the same time eliminate problems
resulting from electromagnetic interference. The
technology may also be useful for other areas of optical
communications, such as fiber to the home.

Physical Properties
A. Optical Guiding and Dispersion Tailoring
Silicon is transparent to infrared light with wavelengths
above about 1.1 microns. Silicon also has a very
high refractive index, of about 3.5. The tight optical
confinement provided by this high index allows for
microscopic optical waveguides, which may have cross-
sectional dimensions of only a few hundred nanometers.
This is substantially less than the wavelength of the light
itself, and is analogous to a sub wavelength-diameter
optical fiber. Single mode propagation can be
achieved, thus (like single-mode optical fiber)
eliminating the problem of modal dispersion. The
strong dielectric boundary effects that result from this
tight confinement substantially alter the optical
dispersion relation. By selecting the waveguide
geometry, it is possible to tailor the dispersion to have
desired properties, which is of crucial importance to
applications requiring ultra-short pulses. In particular,
the group velocity dispersion (that is, the extent to
which group velocity varies with wavelength) can be
closely controlled. In bulk silicon at 1.55 microns, the
group velocity dispersion (GVD) is normal in that
pulses with longer wavelengths travel with higher group
velocity than those with shorter wavelength. By
selecting suitable waveguide geometry, however, it is
possible to reverse this, and achieve anomalous GVD, in
which pulses with shorter wavelengths travel
faster. Anomalous dispersion is significant, as it is a
prerequisite for modulation instability.
In order for the silicon photonic components to remain
optically independent from the bulk silicon of
the wafer on which they are fabricated, it is necessary to
have a layer of intervening material. This is
usually silica, which has a much lower refractive index
(of about 1.44 in the wavelength region of interest), and
thus light at the silicon-silica interface will (like light at
the silicon-air interface) undergo total internal
reflection, and remain in the silicon. This construct is
known as silicon on insulator. It is named after the
technology of silicon on insulator in electronics,
whereby components are built upon a layer
of insulator in order to reduce parasitic capacitance and
so improve performance.

B. Kerr Nonlinearity
Silicon has a focusing Kerr nonlinearity, in that
the refractive index increases with optical intensity.
This effect is not especially strong in bulk silicon, but it
can be greatly enhanced by using a silicon waveguide to
concentrate light into a very small cross-sectional area.
This allows nonlinear optical effects to be seen at low
powers. The nonlinearity can be enhanced further by
using a slot waveguide, in which the high refractive
index of the silicon is used to confine light into a central
region filled with a strongly nonlinear polymer. Kerr
nonlinearity underlies a wide variety of optical
phenomena. One example is four-wave mixing, which
has been applied in silicon to realize both optical
parametric amplification and parametric wavelength
conversion. Kerr nonlinearity can also cause modulation
instability, in which it reinforces deviations from an
optical waveform, leading to the generation of spectral-
sidebands and the eventual breakup of the waveform
into a train of pulses.

C. Two-Photon Absorption
Silicon exhibits Two Photon Absorption (TPA), in
which a pair of photons can act to excite an electron-
hole pair. This process is related to the Kerr effect, and
by analogy with complex refractive index, can be
thought of as the imaginary-part of a complex Kerr
nonlinearity. At the 1.55 micron telecommunication
wavelength, this imaginary part is approximately 10%
of the real part.
The influence of TPA is highly disruptive, as it both
wastes light, and generates unwanted heat. It can be
mitigated, however, either by switching to longer
wavelengths (at which the TPA to Kerr ratio drops), or
by using slot waveguides (in which the internal
nonlinear material has a lower TPA to Kerr
ratio). Alternatively, the energy lost through TPA can be
partially recovered by extracting it from the generated
charge carriers.

D. Free Charge Carrier Interactions
The free charge carriers within silicon can both absorb
photons and change its refractive index. This is
particularly significant at high intensities and for long
durations, due to the carrier concentration being built up
by TPA. The influence of free charge carriers is often
(but not always) unwanted, and various means have
been proposed to remove them. One such scheme is
to implant the silicon with helium in order to


Conclusion
It is clear that an enormous amount of work,
corresponding to huge capital investments, is still
required before silicon photonics can be established as a
key technology. However, the potential merits motivate
big players such as Intel to pursue this development
seriously. If it is successful, it can lead to a very
powerful technology with huge benefits for photonics
and microelectronics and their applications.
Although research in the area of planar optics in silicon
has been underway for several decades, recent efforts at
Intel Corporation have provided better understanding of
the capabilities of such devices as silicon modulators,
ECLs and SiGe detectors. Silicon modulators operating
at 50 GHz have demonstrated several orders of
magnitude improvement over other known Si-based
modulators, with theoretical modeling indicating
performance capabilities beyond 1 THz. Through
further research and demonstration of novel silicon
photonics devices, integrated silicon photonics has a
viable future in commercial optoelectronics.

Bibliography
1. Whitepaper on Continuous Silicon Laser,
presented by Sean Koehl, Victor Krutul, Dr.
Mario Paniccia
2. Whitepaper: Introducing Intel’s advances in
Silicon photonics, presented by Dr. Mario
Paniccia, Victor Krutul , Sean Koehl
3. Silicon Photonics by Bahram Jalali, fellow,
IEEE, and Sasan Fathpour, Member, IEEE,
Published in Journal of Light wave
Technology,Vol. 24, no. 12, December 2006
4. Silicon Photonics: An Introduction, John Wiley
and Sons
5. techresearch.intel.com
6. intel.com
7. kotura.com
8. photonics.com
9. rp-photonics.com
10. biztechmagazine.com
11. pcper.com
12. research.ibm.com
13. nanowerk.com

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