Triply resonant coupled-cavity electro-optic modulators for RF to optical signal conversion Public Deposited

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  • We propose an on-chip triply resonant electro-optic modulator architecture for RF-to-optical signal conversion and provide a detailed theoretical analysis of the optimal "circuit-level" device geometries and their performance limits. The designs maximize the RF-optical conversion efficiency through simultaneous resonant enhancement of the RF drive signal, a continuous-wave (CW) optical pump, and the generated optical sideband. The optical pump and sideband are resonantly enhanced in respective supermodes of a two-coupled-cavity optical resonator system, while the RF signal can be enhanced in addition by an LC circuit formed by capacitances of the optical resonator active regions and (integrated) matching inductors. We show that such designs can offer 15-50 dB improvement in conversion efficiency over conventional microring modulators. In the proposed configurations, the photon lifetime (resonance linewidth) limits the instantaneous RF bandwidth of the electro-optic response but does not limit its central RF frequency. The latter is set by the coupling strength between the two coupled cavities and is not subject to the photon lifetime constraint inherent to conventional singly resonant microring modulators. This feature enables efficient operation at high RF carrier frequencies without a reduction in efficiency commonly associated with the photon lifetime limit and accounts for 10-30 dB of the total improvement. Two optical configurations of the modulator are proposed: a "basic" configuration with equal Q-factors in both supermodes, most suitable for narrowband RF signals, and a "generalized" configuration with independently tailored supermode Q-factors that supports a wider instantaneous bandwidth. A second significant 5-20 dB gain in modulation efficiency is expected from RF drive signal enhancement by integrated LC resonant matching, leading to the total expected improvement of 15-50 dB. Previously studied triply-resonant modulators, with coupled longitudinal [across the free spectral range (FSR)] modes, have large resonant mode volume for typical RF frequencies, which limits the interaction between the optical and RF fields. In contrast, the proposed modulators support maximally tightly confined resonant modes, with strong coupling between the mode fields, which increases and maintains high device efficiency across a range of RF frequencies. The proposed modulator architecture is compact, efficient, capable of modulation at high RF carrier frequencies and can be applied to any cavity design or modulation mechanism. It is also well suited to moderate Q, including silicon, implementations, and may be enabling for future CMOS RF-electronic-photonic systems on chip.

Date Issued
  • 2020
Academic Affiliation
Journal Title
Journal Issue/Number
  • 1
Journal Volume
  • 28
Last Modified
  • 2022-05-23
Resource Type
Rights Statement
  • 1994-4087