Silicon based dielectrics : growth, characterization, and applications in integrated optics

Aydınlı, Atilla
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Bilkent University
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In recent years, growing attention has been paid to silicon based dielectrics, such as silicon oxynitrides, silicon nitrides, and semiconductor doped silicon oxides, all combined under the name silica on silicon technology. This attention has been motivated mainly due to their excellent optical properties such as well controlled refractive index and high transparency over a wide range of wavelength. In accordance with the main goal of this study that relied on the utilization of silicon based dielectrics and their optimization for applications in integrated optics, an emphasis was given to optimize the compositional and optical properties of these materials. A detailed quantitative compositional analysis using Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy resulted in identification of the germanosilicate dielectrics as the most promising candidates for use in integrated optics. The first reported systematic study of propagation losses for different-index planar waveguides by using prism coupling method was correlated with the compositional analysis. This study had an important outcome for planar waveguides fabricated with germanosilicate core layers resulting in the lowest propagation loss values reported so far for as deposited CVD-grown films at λ=1.55 µm, eliminating the need for costly and cumbersome annealing process. An improvement of the prism coupling technique led to a new approach for elasto-optic characterization of thin polymer films. This completely new method allows one to determine the optical anisotropy and out-of-plane mechanical properties and to correlate both in order to obtain the elasto-optical properties of thin polymer films, for the first time. Of interest as potential electro-optic material, we have concentrated on thermally poled germanosilicate films deposited on fused-silica substrates by PECVD. As a result of an optimization study, we demonstrated a record peak nonlinear coefficient of ∼1.6 pm/V, approximately twice as strong as the highest reliable value reported in a thermally poled fused silica glass. Finally, we have demonstrated several applications of this technology in the field of integrated optics. Since optical waveguides constitute the building blocks of many integrated optical devices, we had first concentrated on design and optimization of waveguides employing germanosilicates as the core layers. The final step of our work concentrated on design and implementation of microring resonator devices based on germanosilicate layers.

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