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Multi-level Electro-thermal Switching of Optical Phase-Change Materials Using Graphene

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posted on 2023-11-30, 20:09 authored by Carlos Ríos, Yifei Zhang, Mikhail Shalaginov, Skylar Deckoff-Jones, Haozhe Wang, Sensong An, Hualiang Zhang, Myungkoo Kang, Kathleen A. Richardson, Christopher Roberts, Jeffrey B. Chou, Vladimir Liberman, Steven A. Vitale, Jing Kong, Tian Gu, Juejun Hu
Reconfigurable photonic systems featuring minimal power consumption are crucial for integrated optical devices in real-world technology. Current active devices available in foundries, however, use volatile methods to modulate light, requiring a constant supply of power and significant form factors. Essential aspects to overcoming these issues are the development of nonvolatile optical reconfiguration techniques which are compatible with on-chip integration with different photonic platforms and do not disrupt their optical performances. In this paper, a solution is demonstrated using an optoelectronic framework for nonvolatile tunable photonics that employs undoped-graphene microheaters to thermally and reversibly switch the optical phase-change material Ge$_2$Sb$_2$Se$_4$Te$_1$ (GSST). An in-situ Raman spectroscopy method is utilized to demonstrate, in real-time, reversible switching between four different levels of crystallinity. Moreover, a 3D computational model is developed to precisely interpret the switching characteristics, and to quantify the impact of current saturation on power dissipation, thermal diffusion, and switching speed. This model is used to inform the design of nonvolatile active photonic devices; namely, broadband Si$_3$N$_4$ integrated photonic circuits with small form-factor modulators and reconfigurable metasurfaces displaying 2$\pi$ phase coverage through neural-network-designed GSST meta-atoms. This framework will enable scalable, low-loss nonvolatile applications across a diverse range of photonics platforms.



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