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Piezoelectric actuation for integrated photonics

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posted on 2024-05-17, 16:00 authored by Hao Tian, Junqiu Liu, Tobias J. Kippenberg, Sunil Bhave
Recent decades have seen significant advancements in integrated photonics, driven by improvements in nanofabrication technology. This field has developed from integrated semiconductor lasers and low-loss waveguides to optical modulators, enabling the creation of sophisticated optical systems on a chip scale capable of performing complex functions like optical sensing, signal processing, and metrology. The tight confinement of optical modes in photonic waveguides further enhances the optical nonlinearity, leading to a variety of nonlinear optical phenomena such as optical frequency combs, second-harmonic generation, and supercontinuum generation. Active tuning of photonic circuits is crucial not only for offsetting variations caused by fabrication in large-scale integration, but also serves as a fundamental component in programmable photonic circuits. Piezoelectric actuation in photonic devices offers a low-power, high-speed solution and is essential in the design of future photonic circuits due to its compatibility with materials like Si and Si3N4, which do not exhibit electro-optic effects. Here, we provide a detailed review of the latest developments in piezoelectric tuning and modulation, by examining various piezoelectric materials, actuator designs tailored to specific applications, and the capabilities and limitations of current technologies. Additionally, we explore the extensive applications enabled by piezoelectric actuators, including tunable lasers, frequency combs, quantum transducers, and optical isolators. These innovative ways of managing photon propagation and frequency on-chip are expected to be highly sought after in the future advancements of advanced photonic chips for both classical and quantum optical information processing and computing.



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