indium phosphide, InP, photonic switches, integrated optics, semiconductors, multimode interference, MMI, multiple quantum wells, MQW, electrooptic, carrier induced, Mach-Zehnder


Photonic switches are becoming key components in advanced optical networks because of the large variety of applications that they can perform. One of the key advantages of photonic switches is that they redirect or convert light without having to make any optical to electronic conversions and vice versa, thus allowing networking functions to be lowered into the optical layer. InP-based switches are particularly attractive because of their small size, low electrical power consumption, and compatibility with integration of laser sources, photo-detectors, and electronic components. In this dissertation the development of integrated InP photonic switches using an area-selective zinc diffusion process has been investigated. The zinc diffusion process is implemented using a semi-sealed open-tube diffusion technique. The process has proven to be highly controllable and reproducible by carefully monitoring of the diffusion parameters. Using this technique, isolated p-n junctions exhibiting good I-V characteristics and breakdown voltages greater than 10 V can be selectively defined across a semiconductor wafer. A series of Mach-Zehnder interferometric (MZI) switches/modulators have been designed and fabricated. Monolithic integration of 1x2 and 2x2 MZI switches has been demonstrated. The diffusion process circumvents the need for isolation trenches, and hence optical losses can be significantly reduced. An efficient optical beam steering device based on InGaAsP multiple quantum wells is also demonstrated. The degree of lateral current spreading is easily regulated by controlling the zinc depth, allowing optimization of the injected currents. Beam steering over a 21 microns lateral distance with electrical current values as low as 12.5 mA are demonstrated. Using this principle, a reconfigurable 1x3 switch has been implemented with crosstalk levels better than -17 dB over a 50 nm wavelength range. At these low electrical current levels, uncooled and d.c. bias operation is made feasible. The use of multimode interference (MMI) structures as active devices have also been investigated. These devices operate by selective refractive index perturbation on very specific areas within the MMI structure, and this is again realized using zinc diffusion. Several variants such as a compact MMI modulator that is as short as 350 µm, a robust 2x2 photonic switch and a tunable MMI coupler have been demonstrated.


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LiKamWa, Patrick


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Optics and Photonics

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Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)