Index Switchable III-nitride Planar Lightwave Circuits for Optical Communications
Project Award Date: 08-17-2005
Over the last decade, III-nitride materials have occupied the central stage in the semiconductor research with a predominant focus on applications as photonic devices operating in the visible and UV regions. We systematically investigated the properties of III-nitrides operating in the near infrared wavelength region, including refractive indices, optical losses, birefringence, and temperature sensitivities. We have developed various photonic devices based on A1GaN/GaN planar lightwave circuits, such as waveguide couplers and array waveguide gratings (A WG) operating in 1550nm wavelength.
Since III-nitrides are semiconductor materials, carrier injection can be used to modulate the refractive index and to change the phase delay of the waveguide. Adding an electrode on each interference arm of an A WG made by A1GaN/GaN p-i-n heterojunction, for example, could make a wavelength demultiplexer switchable at high speed. A carrier-induced index change is a key step toward a real functional device for high-speed, all-optical packet switch. We propose to design, develop and optimize AlGaN/GaN-based p-i-n heterojunction structure in planar lightwave circuits to realize carrier injection and index tuning.
The unique properties of III-nitrides make them attractive for guiding and switching light in the infrared wavelength region for optical communications, which may allow the creation of photonic devices with unprecedented properties and functionalities.
Primary Sponsor(s): NSF