Conference paper

Mid-infrared nonlinear silicon photonics

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Recently there has been a growing interest in mid-infrared (mid-IR) photonic technology with a wavelength of operation approximately from 2-14 μm. Among several established mid-IR photonic platforms, silicon nanophotonic platform could potentially offer ultra-compact, and monolithically integrated mid-IR photonic devices and device arrays, which could have board impact in the mid-IR technology, such as molecular spectroscopy, and imaging. At room temperature, silicon has a bandgap ~ 1.12 eV resulting in vanishing two-photon absorption (TPA) for mid-IR wavelengths beyond 2.2 μm, which, coupled with silicon's large nonlinear index of refraction and its strong waveguide optical confinement, enables efficient nonlinear processes in the mid-IR. By taking advantage of these nonlinear processes and judicious dispersion engineering in silicon waveguides, we have recently demonstrated a handful of silicon mid-IR nonlinear components, including optical parametric amplifiers (OPA), broadband sources, and a wavelength translator. Silicon nanophotonic waveguide's anomalous dispersion design, providing four-wave-mixing (FWM) phase-matching, has enabled the first demonstration of silicon mid-IR optical parametric amplifier (OPA) with a net off-chip gain exceeding 13 dB. In addition, reduction of propagation losses and balanced second and fourth order waveguide dispersion design led to an OPA with an extremely broadband gain spectrum from 1.9-2.5 μm and >50 dB parametric gain, upon which several novel silicon mid-IR light sources were built, including a mid-IR optical parametric oscillator, and a supercontinuum source. Finally, a mid-IR wavelength translation device, capable of translating signals near 2.4 μm to the telecom-band near 1.6 μm with simultaneous 19 dB gain, was demonstrated. © 2014 SPIE.