A graphene based top-gate optical modulator on a standard silicon photonic platform is proposed for the future optical telecommunication networks. On the basis of the device simulation, we proposed that an electro-absorption light modulation can be realized by an ultra-narrow metal top-gate electrode (width less than 400 nm) directly located on the top of a silicon wire waveguide. The designed structure also provides excellent features such as carrier doping and waveguide-planarization free fabrication processes. In terms of the fabrication, we established transferring of a CVD-grown mono-layer graphene sheet onto a CMOS compatible silicon photonic sample followed by a 25-nm thick ALD-grown Al2O3 deposition and Source-Gate-Drain electrodes formation. In addition, a pair of low-loss spot-size converter for the input and output area is integrated for the efficient light source coupling. The maximum modulation depth of over 30% (1.2 dB) is observed at a device length of 50 μm, and a metal width of 300 nm. The influence of the initial Fermi energy obtained by experiment on the modulation performance is discussed with simulation results.
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