Ultra-Low-Power Tuning in Hybrid Barium Titanate-Silicon Nitride Electro-optic Devices on Silicon
As the optical analogue to integrated electronics, integrated photonics has already found widespread use in data centers in the form of optical interconnects. As global network traffic continues its rapid expansion, the power consumption of such circuits becomes a critical consideration. Electrically tunable devices in photonic integrated circuits contribute significantly to the total power budget, as they traditionally rely on inherently power-consuming phenomena such as the plasma dispersion effect or the thermo-optic effect for operation. Here, we demonstrate ultra-low-power refractive index tuning in a hybrid barium titanate (BTO)-silicon nitride (SiN) platform integrated on silicon. We achieve tuning by exploiting the large electric field-driven Pockels effect in ferroelectric BTO thin films of sub-100 nm thickness. The extrapolated power consumption for tuning a free spectral range (FSR) in racetrack resonator devices is only 106 nW/FSR, several orders of magnitude less than many previous reports. We demonstrate the technological potential of our hybrid BTO-SiN technology by compensating thermally induced refractive index variations over a temperature range of 20 °C and by using our platform to fabricate tunable multiresonator optical filters. Our hybrid BTO-SiN technology significantly advances the field of ultra-low-power integrated photonic devices and allows for the realization of next-generation efficient photonic circuits for use in a variety of fields, including communications, sensing, and computing.