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Silicon photonic MEMS switches based on split waveguide crossings

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posted on 2023-06-07, 16:02 authored by Yinpeng Hu, Yi Sun, Ye Lu, Huan Li, Liu Liu, Yaocheng Shi, Daoxin Dai
The continuous push for high-performance photonic switches is one of the most crucial premises for the sustainable scaling of programmable and reconfigurable photonic circuits for a wide spectrum of applications. Large-scale photonic switches constructed with a large number of 2$\times$2 elementary switches impose stringent requirements on the elementary switches. In contrast to conventional elementary switches based on mode interference or mode coupling, here we propose and realize a brand-new silicon MEMS 2$\times$2 elementary switch based on a split waveguide crossing (SWX) consisting of two halves. With this structure, the propagation direction of the incident light can be manipulated to implement the OFF and ON states by splitting or combining the two halves of the SWX, respectively. More specifically, we introduce refractive-index engineering by incorporating subwavelength-tooth (SWT) structures on both reflecting facets to further reduce the excess loss in the ON state. Such a unique switching mechanism features a compact footprint on a standard SOI wafer and enables excellent photonic performance with low excess loss of 0.1-0.52/0.1-0.47dB and low crosstalk of $\lt$-37/-22.5dB over an ultrawide bandwidth of 1400-1700nm for the OFF/ON states in simulation, while in experiment, excess loss of 0.15-0.52/0.42-0.66dB and crosstalk of $\lt$-45.5/-25dB over the bandwidth of 1525-1605 nm for the OFF/ON states have been measured.Furthermore, excellent MEMS characteristics such as near-zero steady-state power consumption, low switching energy of sub-pJ, switching speed of {\mu}s-scale, durability beyond 10^9 switching cycles, and overall device robustness have been achieved. Finally, a 16$\times$16 switch using Benes topology has also been fabricated and characterized as a proof of concept, further validating the suitability of the SWX switches for large-scale integration.



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