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High-yield wafer-scale fabrication of ultralow-loss, dispersion-engineered silicon nitride photonic circuits

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posted on 2023-11-30, 19:53 authored by Junqiu Liu, Guanhao Huang, Rui Ning Wang, Jijun He, Arslan S. Raja, Tianyi Liu, Nils J. Engelsen, Tobias J. Kippenberg
Low-loss photonic integrated circuits (PIC) and microresonators have enabled novel applications ranging from narrow-linewidth lasers, microwave photonics, to chip-scale optical frequency combs and quantum frequency conversion. To translate these results into a widespread technology, attaining ultralow optical losses with established foundry manufacturing is critical. Recent advances in fabrication of integrated Si3N4 photonics have shown that ultralow-loss, dispersion-engineered microresonators can be attained at die-level throughput. For emerging nonlinear applications such as integrated travelling-wave parametric amplifiers and mode-locked lasers, PICs of length scales of up to a meter are required, placing stringent demands on yield and performance that have not been met with current fabrication techniques. Here we overcome these challenges and demonstrate a fabrication technology which meets all these requirements on wafer-level yield, performance and length scale. Photonic microresonators with a mean Q factor exceeding 30 million, corresponding to a linear propagation loss of 1.0 dB/m, are obtained over full 4-inch wafers, as determined from a statistical analysis of tens of thousands of optical resonances and cavity ringdown with 19 ns photon storage time. The process operates over large areas with high yield, enabling 1-meter-long spiral waveguides with 2.4 dB/m loss in dies of only 5x5 mm size. Using a modulation response measurement self-calibrated via the Kerr nonlinearity, we reveal that, strikingly, the intrinsic absorption-limited Q factor of our Si3N4 microresonators exceeds a billion. Transferring the present Si3N4 photonics technology to standard commercial foundries, and merging it with silicon photonics using heterogeneous integration technology, will significantly expand the scope of today's integrated photonics and seed new applications.



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