Reconfigurable integrated photonic circuits on silicon
Alipour Motaallem, Seyed Payam
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Integrated optics as a platform for signal processing offers significant benefits such as large bandwidth, low loss, and a potentially high degree of reconfigurability. Silicon (Si) has unique advantages as a material platform for integration, as well as properties such as a strong thermo-optic mechanism that allows for the realization of highly reconfigurable photonic systems. Chapter 1 is devoted to the discussion of these advantages, and Chapter 2 provides the theoretical background for the analysis of integrated Si-photonic devices. The thermo-optic property of Si, while proving extremely useful in facilitating reconfiguration, can turn into a nuisance when there is a need for thermally stable devices on the photonic chip. Chapter 3 presents a technique for resolving this issue without relying on a dynamic temperature stabilization process. Temperature-insensitive (or “athermal”) Si microdisk resonators with low optical loss are realized by using a polymer overlayer whose thermo-optic property is opposite to that of Si, and TiO2 is introduced as an alternative to polymer to deal with potential CMOS-compatibility issues. Chapter 4 demonstrates an ultra-compact, low-loss, fully reconfigurable, and high-finesse integrated photonic filter implemented on a Si chip, which can be used for RF-photonic as well as purely optical signal processing purposes. A novel, thermally reconfigurable reflection suppressor is presented in Chapter 5 for on-chip feedback elimination which can be critical for mitigating spurious interferences and protecting lasers from disturbance. Chapter 6 demonstrates a novel device for on-chip control of optical fiber polarization. Chapter 7 deals with select issues in the implementation of Si integrated photonic circuits. Chapter 8 concludes the dissertation.