A thermally wavelength-tunable photonic switch based on silicon microring resonator

Xuan Wang, Florida International University


Silicon photonics is a very promising technology for future low-cost high-bandwidth optical telecommunication applications down to the chip level. This is due to the high degree of integration, high optical bandwidth and large speed coupled with the development of a wide range of integrated optical functions. Silicon-based microring resonators are a key building block that can be used to realize many optical functions such as switching, multiplexing, demultiplaxing and detection of optical wave. The ability to tune the resonances of the microring resonators is highly desirable in many of their applications. In this work, the study and application of a thermally wavelength-tunable photonic switch based on silicon microring resonator is presented. Devices with 10μm diameter were systematically studied and used in the design. Its resonance wavelength was tuned by thermally induced refractive index change using a designed local micro-heater. While thermo-optic tuning has moderate speed compared with electro-optic and all-optic tuning, with silicon’s high thermo-optic coefficient, a much wider wavelength tunable range can be realized. The device design was verified and optimized by optical and thermal simulations. The fabrication and characterization of the device was also implemented. The microring resonator has a measured FSR of ∼18 nm, FWHM in the range 0.1-0.2 nm and Q around 10,000. A wide tunable range (>6.4 nm) was achieved with the switch, which enables dense wavelength division multiplexing (DWDM) with a channel space of 0.2nm. The time response of the switch was tested on the order of 10 μs with a low power consumption of ∼11.9mW/nm. The measured results are in agreement with the simulations. Important applications using the tunable photonic switch were demonstrated in this work. 1×4 and 4×4 reconfigurable photonic switch were implemented by using multiple switches with a common bus waveguide. The results suggest the feasibility of on-chip DWDM for the development of large-scale integrated photonics. Using the tunable switch for output wavelength control, a fiber laser was demonstrated with Erbium-doped fiber amplifier as the gain media. For the first time, this approach integrated on-chip silicon photonic wavelength control.

Subject Area

Electrical engineering

Recommended Citation

Wang, Xuan, "A thermally wavelength-tunable photonic switch based on silicon microring resonator" (2009). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3394847.