Abstract

The ever-increasing global network traffic requires a high level of seamless integration between optical interconnect systems and complementary metal–oxide–semiconductor (CMOS) circuits. Therefore, it brings stringent requirements for future electro-optic (E-O) modulators, which should be ultracompact, energy efficient, high bandwidth, and in the meanwhile, able to be directly driven by the state-of-the-art CMOS circuits. In this Letter, we report a low-voltage silicon photonic crystal nanocavity modulator using an optimized metal–oxide–semiconductor (MOS) capacitor consisting of an In2O3/HfO2/p-Si stacked nanostructure. The strong light–matter interaction from the accumulated free carriers with the nanocavity resonant mode results in holistic improvement in device performance, including a high tuning efficiency of 250 pm/V and an average modulation strength of 4 dB/V with a moderate Q factor of 3700 and insertion loss of 6  dB using an ultrashort electrode length of only 350 nm. With 1 V driving voltage over a capacitive loading of only 13 fF, the silicon photonic nanocavity modulator can achieve more than 3 dB extinction ratio with energy consumption of only 3 fJ/bit. Such a low-voltage, low-capacitance silicon nanocavity modulator provides the feasibility to be directly driven by a CMOS logic gate for single-chip integration.

© 2018 Optical Society of America

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