Electronic-optic modulators Technology

Electronic-optic modulators Technology

Figure: Plasmonic phase modulator consisting of a metal-insulator-metal waveguided and an electro-optic material.

Polariton Technologies delivers high-speed Electronic-optic modulators that convert data from electric into optical signals, that can then be transmitted over fiber-optic cables. Our Electronic-optic modulators rely on plasmonics, which allows for miniaturization of optical devices. The technology underpinning plasmonic modulators has been developed and has been subject of research and collaboration with ETH Zurich for more than 7 years.

Plasmonics refers to the manipulation of signals at optical frequencies along metal-dielectric interfaces on the nanometer scale. Key to our technology is the coupling between light and electrons at a metal surface (Surface Plasmon Polariton, or SPP). In our electro-optic modulators, these SPPs are strongly confined in a metal-insulator-metal (MIM) waveguide. In this MIM waveguide, SPPs interact with an electro-optic material, see Figure. When a voltage is applied, the optical properties of the electro-optic material change, so that we can manipulate the phase of the SPPs. In a Mach-Zehnder configuration, these phase modulators are used as amplitude or intensity modulator.

The tight confinement enables our modulators to efficiently modulate light on an ultra-compact footprint. The short interaction length, typically in the range of 10 µm, limits the influence of relatively high propagation losses of MIM waveguiding.

Plasmonic devices use metal for guiding SPPs, which has the advantage that they serve as their own electrical contacts.  As devices are small, capacitances are small too, thus boosting the switching speed, due to small RC time constants. Further, in contrast to traditional electro-optic modulators, they are not hindered by the walk-off between electrical and optical waves. 

Photonics and plasmonics complement each other: Given the right conditions, optical signals can be converted to plasmonic ones and vice versa. Polariton’s modulators are seamlessly integrated into the existing silicon photonics platform, enabling a broad range of applications.

Highlights

Features


Size


Bandwith


Energy Consumption


Market Volume


Maturity


Polariton Product

Polariton


0.01 mm


>500 GHz


10 fJ/bit


Very high volume


First products 2021


Lithium Niobate


100 mm


35 GHz


1000 fJ/bit


Low volume


In operation for > 20 years


Silicon Photonics


5 mm


40 GHz


100 fJ/bit


High volume


First products emerging


Small Dimensions

Small Dimensions

The plasmonic modulator technology offers dense integration with sizes of a few 10s µm. This overcomes the size mismatch between small-scale electronics and large-scale photonics.

Features

  • On-chip device sizes of a few 10s of µm; package sizes of 20 mm x 10 mm.

  • Minimize RF losses and attach directly to RF source

Large Bandwidth

Large Bandwidth

Due to small RC time constants plasmonic modulators offer a unique electro-optic bandwidth >500 GHz.

Features

  • On-chip bandwidth of up to 500 GHz; packaged 3 dB electro-optic BW >110 GHz.

  • Digital modulation >112 GBd

  • Narrowband millimeter wave signals between 0-500 GHz.

  • Designed for C-band operation at 1550 nm

Low power consumption

Low Power Use

The power consumption in fiber-optic communication networks strongly depends on the system design that requires new and highly efficient components. The high bandwidth of plasmonic modulators minimizes the need of power-hungry DSP and FEC needs on a system level.

Product

Organic hybrid Plasmonic modulator

110 GHz C-Band Plasmonic Mach-Zehnder Modulator

Description

The plasmonic Mach-Zehnder Modulator is an ideal solution for high-speed electro-optic conversion in the C-Band. Featuring a bandwidth of beyond 110 GHz makes a first choice for applications in measurement systems, radio-over-fiber systems and for high-data-rate optical transport.

Features

  • C-band operation
  • 3 dB electro-optical bandwidth >110 GHz
  • Lumped, low-capacitance RF design
  • Compact form factor

We listen


Säumerstrasse 4
c/o ETH Zürich
8803 Rüschlikon
Switzerland
hello@polariton.ch

Mission


We are revolutionizing our future communication network and contributing to the world through research, scientific accuracy and our very own set of values that we do not compromise.

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