Lithium tantalate electro-optical photonic integrated circuits for high volume manufacturing
preprintposted on 2023-07-08, 04:03 authored by Chengli Wang, Zihan Li, Johann Riemensberger, Grigory Lihachev, Mikhail Churaev, Wil Kao, Xinru Ji, Terence Blesin, Alisa Davydova, Yang Chen, Xi Wang, Kai Huang, Xin Ou, Tobias J. Kippenberg
Photonic integrated circuits based on Lithium Niobate have demonstrated the vast capabilities afforded by material with a high Pockels coefficient, allowing linear and high-speed modulators operating at CMOS voltage levels for applications ranging from data-center communications and photonic accelerators for AI. However despite major progress, the industrial adoption of this technology is compounded by the high cost per wafer. Here we overcome this challenge and demonstrate a photonic platform that satisfies the dichotomy of allowing scalable manufacturing at low cost, while at the same time exhibiting equal, and superior properties to those of Lithium Niobate. We demonstrate that it is possible to manufacture low loss photonic integrated circuits using Lithium Tantalate, a material that is already commercially adopted for acoustic filters in 5G and 6G. We show that LiTaO3 posses equally attractive optical properties and can be etched with high precision and negligible residues using DUV lithography, diamond like carbon (DLC) as a hard mask and alkaline wet etching. Using this approach we demonstrate microresonators with an intrinsic cavity linewidth of 26.8 MHz, corresponding to a linear loss of 5.6 dB/m and demonstrate a Mach Zehnder modulator with Vpi L = 4.2 V cm half-wave voltage length product. In comparison to Lithium Niobate, the photonic integrated circuits based on LiTaO3 exhibit a much lower birefringence, allowing high-density circuits and broadband operation over all telecommunication bands (O to L band), exhibit higher photorefractive damage threshold, and lower microwave loss tangent. Moreover, we show that the platform supports generation of soliton microcombs in X-Cut LiTaO3 racetrack microresonator with electronically detectable repetition rate, i.e. 30.1 GHz.