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Slow light silicon modulator beyond 110 GHz bandwidth

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posted on 2023-06-08, 13:02 authored by Changhao Han, Zhao Zheng, Haowen Shu, Ming Jin, Jun Qin, Ruixuan Chen, Yuansheng Tao, Bitao Shen, Bowen Bai, Fenghe Yang, Yimeng Wang, Haoyu Wang, Feifan Wang, Zixuan Zhang, Shaohua Yu, Chao Peng, Xingjun Wang
Silicon modulators are key components in silicon photonics to support the dense integration of electro-optic (EO) functional elements on a compact chip for various applications including high-speed data transmission, signal processing, and photonic computing. Despite numerous advances in promoting the operation speed of silicon modulators, a bandwidth ceiling of 67 GHz emerges in practices and becomes an obstacle to paving silicon photonics toward Tbps level data throughput on a single chip. Here, we theoretically propose and experimentally demonstrate a design strategy for silicon modulators by employing the slow light effect, which shatters the present bandwidth ceiling of silicon modulators and pushes its limit beyond 110 GHz in a small footprint. The proposed silicon modulator is built on a coupled-resonator optical waveguide (CROW) architecture, in which a set of Bragg gratings are appropriately cascaded to give rise to a slow light effect. By comprehensively balancing a series of merits including the group index, photon lifetime, electrical bandwidth, and losses, we found the modulators can benefit from the slow light for better modulation efficiency and compact size while remaining their bandwidth sufficiently high to support ultra-high-speed data transmission. Consequently, we realize a modulator with an EO bandwidth of 110 GHz in a length of 124 {\mu}m, and demonstrate a data rate beyond 110 Gbps by applying simple on-off keying modulation for a DSP-free operation. Our work proves that silicon modulators beyond 110 GHz are feasible, thus shedding light on the potentials of silicon photonics in ultra-high-bandwidth applications such as data communication, optical interconnection, and photonic machine learning.



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