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Opt Lett. 2009 May 15;34(10):1534-6.

Silicon-nitride surface passivation of submicrometer silicon waveguides for low-power optical switches.

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  • 1IBM Research, T. J. Watson Research Center, Yorktown Heights, New York 10598, USA.


We report on a Si(3)N(4)-based surface-passivation technique for increasing free-carrier lifetimes in submicrometer silicon-on-insulator waveguides by up to 2 orders of magnitude. The carrier lifetime was measured by injecting free carriers into a critically coupled ring resonator through photoexcitation by short pump pulses and subsequently tracking the spectral detuning of the resonator during the carrier-recombination phase. Carrier lifetimes of up to 70 ns were obtained in waveguides passivated with a 45-nm-thick Si(3)N(4) coating. Such surface passivation is essential for low-power operation of optical switches based on carrier injection.

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