Ultra-High Capacity Silicon Photonic Interconnects through Spatial Multiplexing

  • Authors:
    Christine P. Chen (Columbia)
    Publication ID:
    Publication Type:
    Received Date:
    Last Edit Date:
    2209.001 (Columbia University)


The market for higher data rate communication is driving the semiconductor industry to develop new techniques of writing at smaller scales, while continuing to scale bandwidth at low power consumption. The question arises of how to continue to sustain this trend. Silicon photonic (SiPh) devices offer a potential solution to the electronic interconnect bandwidth bottleneck. SiPh leverages the technology commensurate of decades of fabrication development with the unique functionality of next-generation optical interconnects. Finer fabrication techniques have allowed for manufacturing physical characteristics of waveguide structures that can support multiple modes in a single waveguide. By refining modal characteristics in photonic waveguide structures, through mode multiplexing with the asymmetric y-junction and microring resonator, higher aggregate data bandwidth is demonstrated via various combinations of spatial multiplexing, broadening applications supported by the integrated platform.

The main contributions of this dissertation are summarized as follows. Experimental demonstrations of new forms of spatial multiplexing combined together exhibit feasibility of data transmission through mode-division multiplexing (MDM), mode-division and wavelength-division multiplexing (MDM-WDM), and mode-division and polarization division multiplexing (MDM-PDM) through a C-band, Si photonic platform. Error-free operation through mode multiplexers and demultiplexers show how data can be viably scaled on multiple modes and with existing spatial domains simultaneously. This work opens up new avenues for scaling bandwidth capacity through leveraging orthogonal domains available on-chip, beyond what had previously been employed like WDM and time-division multiplexing (TDM).

Furthermore, we explore expanding device channel support from two to three arms. Finding that a slight mismatch in the third arm can increase crosstalk contributions considerably, especially when increasing data rate, we explore a methodical way to design the asymmetric y-junction device by considering its angles and multiplexer/demultiplexer arm width. By taking into consideration device fabrication variations, we turn towards optimizing device performance post-fabrication. Through ModePROP simulations, optimizing device performance dynamically post-fabrication is analyzed, through either electro-optical or thermo-optical means. By biasing the arm introducing the slight spectral offset, we can
quantifiably improve device performance.

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