04 Jul 2007
A group of researchers present an overview of recent progress in the rapidly emerging field of integrated silicon-on-insulator (SOI) waveguide photonics.
Communication systems need to use ever higher bit rates as the demand for bandwidth increases. As a consequence, shorter optical pulses must be used and the importance of waveguide dispersion tailoring becomes increasingly important (J. Phys. D: Appl. Phys. 40 R249-R271).
The researchers, based in the Netherlands, USA and Germany, discuss the impact of short pulses on the efficiency of all-optical processes and comment on recent advances in this field.
Particular attention is paid to third-order nonlinear optical processes that can be used in SOI waveguides for high-speed optical data processing. Two efficient modeling methods are presented that give a good insight into the propagation of short light pulses, the carrier dynamics, and the nonlinear processes in straight SOI waveguides.
The researchers describe several fabrication methods, and discuss ways to tailor the waveguide properties to optimize the propagation losses, the optical coupling, dispersion, polarization and field intensities to allow efficient all-optical switching.