Nature Materials

Large Pockels effect in micro- and nanostructured barium titanate integrated on silicon

View publication


The electro-optical Pockels effect is an essential nonlinear effect used in many applications. The ultrafast modulation of the refractive index is, for example, crucial to optical modulators in photonic circuits. Silicon has emerged as a platform for integrating such compact circuits, but a strong Pockels effect is not available on silicon platforms. Here, we demonstrate a large electro-optical response in silicon photonic devices using barium titanate. We verify the Pockels effect to be the physical origin of the response, with r 42 = 923 pm V −1 , by confirming key signatures of the Pockels effect in ferroelectrics: the electro-optic response exhibits a crystalline anisotropy, remains strong at high frequencies, and shows hysteresis on changing the electric field. We prove that the Pockels effect remains strong even in nanoscale devices, and show as a practical example data modulation up to 50 Gbit s −1 . We foresee that our work will enable novel device concepts with an application area largely extending beyond communication technologies.