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Engineering Alumni Professor Dennis Prather

Silicon Photonics

During the past several years silicon photonics has risen to a prominent field due its ability to leverage the electronic manufacturing infrastructure. To this end, our research focuses on developing devices for ultra-high frequency RF signal generation, modulation and distribution within a silicon material platform.

We have developed heterogeneous silicon-based lasers using a silicon-on-insulator (SOI) material platform. These devices utilize a laser cavity realized in silicon and have been designed with a frequency selective grating patterned with Fixed-Beam-Moving-Stage (FBMS) electron beam lithography.

Our work in high-frequency modulators has leveraged slot waveguide architectures to enhance the confinement and overlay between the optical and RF signals within a silicon device. This work uses an organic electro-optic material for low modulation voltages at RF frequencies exceeding 250 GHz.

In addition, we have focused on high-speed signal distribution using tunable photonics crystals to build an optical switch matrix. In this device, a wavelength selective directional coupler is fabricated with lateral integrated PIN diodes to switch the coupling state with less that 20ns via free-carrier injection. The single switch elements have then been placed in a matrix to form the backbone of an optical cross-connect system.

Related Publications:

D.W. Grund, G. J. Schneider, G. A. Ejzak, J. Murakowski, and D.W. Prather "Toward an integrated silicon-photonic module for widely tunable narrow-line RF source using injection-locking " GROUP IV Photonics (GFP), p 213-215, (2012).

M. J. Zablocki, M. Roman, D.W. Prather and A. Sharkawy, "Photonic Crystal WDM cross connect with reconfigurable OCDMA functionality" 2012 IEEE Avionics, Fiber- Optics and Photonics Technology Conference, p 18-19, (2012).

S. Shi, and D.W. Prather, "Ultrabroadband Electro-Optic Modulator Based on Hybrid Silicon-Polymer Dual Vertical Slot Waveguide," Advances in OptoElectronics, v 2011, p 714895, (2011).

M. Zablocki, A. Sharkawy, O. Ebil, S. Shi, D.W. Prather, "Electro-Optically Switched Compact Coupled Photonic Crystal Waveguides Directional Coupler," Applied Physics Letters, v 96, 081110 (2010).

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