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Electrical driving of X-band mechanical waves in a silicon photonic circuit

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posted on 2023-11-30, 05:51 authored by Raphaël Van Laer, Rishi N. Patel, Timothy P. McKenna, Jeremy D. Witmer, Amir H. Safavi-Naeini
Reducing energy dissipation is a central goal of classical and quantum technologies. Optics achieved great success in bringing down power consumption of long-distance communication links. With the rise of mobile, quantum and cloud technologies, it is essential to extend this success to shorter links. Electro-optic modulators are a crucial contributor of dissipation in such links. Numerous variations on important mechanisms such as free-carrier modulation and the Pockels effect are currently pursued, but there are few investigations of mechanical motion as an electro-optic mechanism in silicon. In this work, we demonstrate electrical driving and optical read-out of a 7.2 GHz mechanical mode of a silicon photonic waveguide. The electrical driving is capacitive and can be implemented in any material system. The measurements show that the mechanically-mediated optical phase modulation is two orders of magnitude more efficient than the background phase modulation in our system. Our demonstration is an important step towards efficient opto-electro-mechanical devices in a scalable photonic platform.

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