A Hybrid Barium Titanate–Silicon Photonics Platform for Ultraefficient Electro-Optic Tuning
Ultrafast and highly efficient optical modulators that are based on the Pockels effect are key components of today’s optical communication networks. For the next generation of photonic links, silicon photonic technology is used to establish a new wave of densely integrated optic components. However, this new technology cannot exploit the advantages of using the Pockels effect for optical switching for two reasons: First, silicon does not exhibit any Pockels effect, and second, attempts to combine nonlinear materials with silicon photonics have been cumbersome. Here, we demonstrate a path to integrate barium titanate thin films with strong Pockels coefficients into silicon photonic structures. We highlight various design options, discuss the actual fabrication process, and present experimental results of functional passive and active structures. Examples include couplers and interferometers, as well as active, electrically driven nonvolatilely tunable ring resonators with a tunability of 4 μW/nm. Our results represent a major advancement in the field of ultralow-power silicon photonic switches based on non-linear oxides, and demonstrate the potential of novel applications based on the hybrid barium titanate–silicon photonic platform.