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Highly efficient acousto-optic modulation using nonsuspended thin-film lithium niobate-chalcogenide hybrid waveguides
preprintposted on 2023-06-08, 12:51 authored by Lei Wan, Zhiqiang Yang, Wenfeng Zhou, Meixun Wen, Tianhua Feng, Siqing Zeng, Dong Liu, Huan Li, Jingshun Pan, Ning Zhu, Weiping Liu, Zhaohui Li
A highly efficient on-chip acousto-optic modulator, as a key component, occupies an exceptional position in microwave-to-optical conversion. Homogeneous thin-film lithium niobate is preferentially employed to build the suspended configuration forming the acoustic resonant cavity to improve the modulation efficiency of the device. However, the limited cavity length and complex fabrication recipe of the suspended prototype restrain further breakthrough in the modulation efficiency and impose challenges for waveguide fabrication. In this work, based on a nonsuspended thin-film lithium niobate-chalcogenide glass hybrid Mach-Zehnder interferometer waveguide platform, we propose and demonstrate a built-in push-pull acousto-optic modulator with a half-wave-voltage-length product as low as 0.03 V cm, presenting a modulation efficiency comparable to that of the state-of-the-art suspended counterpart. Based on the advantage of low power consumption, a microwave modulation link is demonstrated using our developed built-in push-pull acousto-optic modulator. The nontrivial acousto-optic modulation performance benefits from the superior photoelastic property of the chalcogenide membrane and the completely bidirectional participation of the antisymmetric Rayleigh surface acoustic wave mode excited by the impedance-matched interdigital transducer, overcoming the issue of amplitude differences of surface acoustic waves applied to the Mach-Zehnder interferometer two arms in traditional push-pull acousto-optic modulators.