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Opt Lett. 2010 Nov 1;35(21):3691-3. doi: 10.1364/OL.35.003691.

Free-carrier absorption modulation in silicon nanocrystal slot waveguides.

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  • 1Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware 19716, USA. tcreazzo@udel.edu


Free-carrier absorption (FCA) has proven to be an important obstacle in the development of a silicon-based laser; however, FCA may serve as a potential advantage in active silicon-based switches or modulators. In this work, we present FCA modulation in slot waveguides with silicon nanocrystals (Si-ncs) embedded in SiO(2) as the low-index slot material. Slot waveguides were fabricated with and without Si-ncs, and the presence of Si-ncs was shown to increase the pump-induced FCA loss in the waveguides by a factor of 4.5. We modeled the Si-nc material using a four-level rate equation analysis to estimate the excited population of Si-ncs, allowing us to extract a value of 2.6 × 10(-17) cm(2) for the FCA cross section of the Si-nc material.

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