A novel technique for realization of erasable waveguide, and therefore configurable/one-time programmable (OTP) silicon photonic circuits is presented. Once the proposed photonic circuit is programmed, its signal routing is retained without the need for additional power consumption. This technology can potentially enable a multi-purpose design of photonic chips for a range of different applications and performance requirements, as it can be programmed for each specific application after chip fabrication. Therefore, the production costs per chip can be reduced because of the increase in production volume, and rapid prototyping of new photonic circuits is enabled.
Essential building blocks for the configurable circuits in the form of erasable directional couplers (DCs) were designed and fabricated, using ion implanted waveguides. We demonstrate permanent switching of optical signals between the drop port and through port of the DCs using a localized post-fabrication laser annealing process. Proof-of-principle demonstrators in the form of generic 1×4 and 2×2 programmable switching circuits were fabricated and subsequently programmed.
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