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Opt Express. 2007 Dec 24;15(26):17761-71.

Enhanced optical nonlinearity in amorphous silicon and its application to waveguide devices.

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  • 1Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of California, San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, California 92093-0409, USA.


We present the first measurements of optical nonlinearity due to free carrier effects in amorphous silicon films using z-scan technique, demonstrating enhanced nonlinearity due to existence of midgap localized states. We also introduce, fabricate and experimentally characterized a new composite waveguide structure consisting of amorphous and crystalline silicon. The fabricated composite rib waveguide confirms to have enhanced free-carrier nonlinearity at the estimated value of 4cm/GW, i.e., seven times larger than that of a crystalline silicon waveguide. Due to existence of the midgap localized states in amorphous silicon, the measured free-carrier lifetime in the composite rib waveguide was about approximately 300ps which is shorter than the values reported in the literature for similar geometries made of silicon.

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