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Comparison of phase change process in Si-GST hybrid integrated waveguide and MMI devices

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posted on 2023-11-30, 20:36 authored by Hanyu Zhang, Xing Yang, Liangjun Lu, Jianping Chen, B. M. A. Rahman, Linjie Zhou
In the past decades, silicon photonic integrated circuits (PICs) have been considered as a promising approach to solve the bandwidth bottleneck in optical communications and interconnections. Despite significant advances, large-scale PICs still face a series of technical challenges, such as footprint, power consumption, and routing state storage, resulting from the active tuning methods used to control the optical waves. These challenges can be partially addressed by combining chalcogenide phase change materials (PCMs) such as Ge2Sb2Te5 (GST) with silicon photonics, especially applicable in switching applications due to the nonvolatile nature of the GST. Although GST phase transitions between amorphous and crystalline states actuated by optical and electrical pulses heating have been experimentally demonstrated, there is no direct comparison between them. We carried out simulations and experiments to systematically investigate the difference in the phase change process induced by optical and electrical pulses for two types of Si-GST hybrid waveguides. For the phase transition induced by optical pulses, the device has a clear advantage in terms of power consumption and operation speed. For the phase transition induced by electrical pulses, the device is suitable for large-scale integration because it does not require complex light routing. It helps us better understand the phase change process and push forward the further development of Si-GST hybrid integration platform, bringing in new potential applications.



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