Modulating light at the micro- and nano-scale - Joyce Poon

The convergence of computing and communications is opening significant opportunities for integrated photonics. New optoelectronic devices and circuits are needed to enable future high capacity, energy efficient communications at many different levels, from trans-continental to chip-scale networks. Simultaneously, the field of integrated photonics itself is transforming rapidly due to the growing availability of sophisticated fabrication and foundry processes. Some of the most important devices in an optical communication link are optical modulators and switches, which impart data signals onto light waves. In this talk, I will present my group's research on the modulation of light at the micro- and nano-scale using silicon, hybrid silicon, and metal-dielectrics. Our work spans from near-term applications to exploratory investigations. Specifically, I will describe 1. High-speed silicon microring modulators that circumvent the modulation bandwidth limitations imposed by their intracavity optical dynamics 2. Sub-volt, broadband, compact plasmonic switches with record-high extinction ratios incorporating a phase-transition oxide material, vanadium dioxide 3. Ultra-low energy self-amplitude/phase modulation in sub-wavelength nano-apertures