High speed silicon photonic crystal waveguide modulator for low voltage operation
A high speed compact silicon modulator is experimentally demonstrated to work at a low driving voltage desirable for on-chip applications. As carrier injection is the only practical option for optical modulation in silicon, a lower limit of current density ( ∼ 104 A/cm2) exists for achieving gigahertz modulation in the p-i-n diode configuration. Exploiting the slow group velocity of light in photonic crystal waveguides, the interaction length of this Mach-Zehnder interferometer-type silicon modulator is reduced significantly compared to conventional modulators. The required high current density is achieved with a low voltage (2 V) by scaling down the interaction length to 80 μm.