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Thermally Controllable Microring Resonator-based Silicon Photonic Switch
A 4 × 4 photonic switch matrix was designed, fabricated and characterized. The photonic switch matrix was based on microring resonator (MR) and was fabricated on relatively low-cost silicon-on-insulator (SOI). Independent wavelength channel switching was accomplished by thermo-optic tuning of the MRs through highly localized resistive micro-heaters. The device was fabricated using the relatively mature silicon fabrication technology. Waveguide patterns were defined with high definition eBeam lithography, etching was done in a reactive-ion etching chamber, and the top cladding SiO2 layer was deposited through plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition. Finally, resistive Nichrome micro-heaters were deposited locally directly above each MR to offer the dynamic tuning capability. The strong optical confinement offered by the high index contrast between silicon and SiO2 makes it possible to fabricate micrometer-sized MRs with acceptable optical power loss caused by the small bending radii. The MRs were designed with a uniform diameter of 10 µm to support a wide free spectral range. All waveguides have a design dimension of 450 nm × 250 nm to allow operation exclusively in the fundamental mode at the 1.55 µm wavelength. A FSR of 18 nm with a spectral linewidth of 0.1 nm were observed for the fabricated MRs offering high wavelength selectivity. The device exhibits virtually no thermal crosstalk between adjacent channels, showing no output peak wavelength shift at 0.01 nm wavelength measurement precision by thermally tuning an adjacent MR with electric current as high as 7 mA, which is equivalent to about 2.5 nm in resonance wavelength tuning. The device showed a tuning delay time of about 1 ms. The overall bare chip size of the device is 20 mm × 4 mm. We demonstrated through this work a wavelength selective photonic switch device using low-cost SOI technology that is compact and easy to fabricate. It shows high potential for further development into high port-count photonic switch matrix.