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Opt Express. 2010 Aug 2;18(16):16902-28. doi: 10.1364/OE.18.016902.

Design of transmission line driven slot waveguide Mach-Zehnder interferometers and application to analog optical links.

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1
Department of Electrical Engineering, University of Washington, Campus Box 352500 Seattle, WA 98195-2500, USA. jwitzens@u.washington.edu

Abstract

Slot waveguides allow joint confinement of the driving electrical radio frequency field and of the optical waveguide mode in a narrow slot, allowing for highly efficient polymer based interferometers. We show that the optical confinement can be simply explained by a perturbation theoretical approach taking into account the continuity of the electric displacement field. We design phase matched transmission lines and show that their impedance and RF losses can be modeled by an equivalent circuit and linked to slot waveguide properties by a simple set of equations, thus allowing optimization of the device without iterative simulations. We optimize the interferometers for analog optical links and predict record performance metrics (V(pi) = 200 mV @ 10 GHz in push-pull configuration) assuming a modest second order nonlinear coefficient (r(33) = 50 pm/V) and slot width (100 nm). Using high performance optical polymers (r(33) = 150 pm/V), noise figures of state of the art analog optical links can be matched while reducing optical power levels by approximately 30 times. With required optical laser power levels predicted at 50 mW, this could be a game changing improvement by bringing high performance optical analog link power requirements in the reach of laser diodes. A modified transmitter architecture allows shot noise limited performance, while reducing power levels in the slot waveguides and enhancing reliability.

PMID:
20721082
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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