Since the emergence of optical fiber communications, lithium niobate (LN) has been the material of choice for electro-optic modulators, featuring high data bandwidth and excellent signal fidelity. Conventional LN modulators however are bulky, expensive and power hungry, and cannot meet the growing demand in modern optical data links. Chip-scale, highly integrated, LN modulators could offer solutions to this problem, yet the fabrication of low-loss devices in LN thin films has been challenging. Here we overcome this hurdle and demonstrate monolithically integrated LN electro-optic modulators that are significantly smaller and more efficient than traditional bulk LN devices, while preserving LN’s excellent material properties. Our compact LN electro-optic platform consists of low-loss nanoscale LN waveguides, micro-ring resonators and miniaturized Mach-Zehnder interferometers, fabricated by directly shaping LN thin films into sub-wavelength structures. The efficient confinement of both optical and microwave fields at the nanoscale dramatically improves the device performances featuring a half-wave electro-optic modulation efficiency of 1.8 V∙cm while operating at data rates up to 40 Gbps. Our monolithic LN nanophotonic platform enables dense integration of high-performance active components, opening new avenues for future high-speed, low power and cost-effective communication networks.
We design and demonstrate a compact, narrow-linewidth integrated laser based on low-loss silicon nitride waveguides coupled to a III-V gain chip. By using a highly confined optical mode, we simultaneously achieve compact bends and ultra-low loss. We leverage the narrowband backreflection of a high-Q microring resonator to act as a cavity output mirror, a single-mode filter, and a propagation delay all in one. This configuration allows the ring to provide feedback and obtain a laser linewidth of 13 kHz with 1.7 mW output power around 1550 nm. This demonstration realizes a compact sub-millimeter silicon nitride laser cavity with a narrow linewidth.
Modern communication networks require high performance and scalable electro-optic modulators that convert electrical signals to optical signals at high speed. Existing lithium niobate modulators have excellent performance but are bulky and prohibitively expensive to scale up. Here we demonstrate scalable and high-performance nanophotonic electro-optic modulators made of single-crystalline lithium niobate microring resonators and micro-Mach-Zehnder interferometers. We show a half-wave electro-optic modulation efficiency of 1.8V-cm and data rates up to 40 Gbps.
Leveraging the spatial modes of multimode waveguides using mode-division multiplexing on an integrated photonic chip allows unprecedented scaling of bandwidth density for on-chip communication. Switching channels between waveguides is critical for future scalable optical networks, but its implementation in multimode waveguides must address how to simultaneously control modes with vastly different optical properties. Here we present a platform for switching signals between multimode waveguides based on individually processing the spatial mode channels using single-mode elements. Using this wavelength-division multiplexing-compatible platform, we demonstrate a 1×2 multimode switch for a silicon chip that routes four data channels with low (<−16.8 dB) crosstalk. We show bit-error rates below 10−9 and power penalties below 1.4 dB on all channels while routing 10 Gb/s data when each channel is input and routed separately. The switch exhibits an additional power penalty of less than 2.4 dB when all four channels are simultaneously routed. These results enable individual processing of multimode signals and high-bandwidth, flexible optical networks.