Experimental demonstration of directive Si3N4 optical leaky wave antennas with semiconductor perturbations at near infrared frequencies
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.1117/12.2177964
Directive optical leaky wave antennas (OLWAs) with tunable radiation pattern are promising integrated optical modulation and scanning devices. OLWAs fabricated using CMOS-compatible semiconductor planar waveguide technology have the potential of providing high directivity with electrical tunability for modulation and switching capabilities. We experimentally demonstrate directive radiation from a silicon nitride (Si3N4) waveguide-based OLWA. The OLWA design comprises 50 crystalline Si perturbations buried inside the waveguide, with a period of 1 μm, each with a length of 260 nm and a height of 150 nm, leading to a directive radiation pattern at telecom wavelengths. The measured far-field radiation pattern at the wavelength of 1540 nm is very directive, with the maximum intensity at the angle of 84.4° relative to the waveguide axis and a half-power beam width around 6.2°, which is consistent with our theoretical predictions. The use of semiconductor perturbations facilitates electronic radiation control thanks to the refractive index variation induced by a carrier density change in the perturbations. To assess the electrical modulation capability, we study carrier injection and depletion in Si perturbations, and investigate the Franz-Keldysh effect in germanium as an alternative way. We theoretically show that the silicon wire modulator has a -3 dB modulation bandwidth of 75 GHz with refractive index change of 3×10-4 in depletion mode, and 350 MHz bandwidth with refractive index change of 1.5×10-2 in injection mode. The Franz-Keldysh effect has the potential to generate very fast modulation in radiation control at telecom wavelengths.