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NOVEL DIFFERENTIAL DEMULTIPLEXER FOR HIGH DENSITY OTDM TRANSMISSION

Ghassan Alhota1*, Anas Elgaood1*, Sata Lahiwel1*, Ali W. Elshaari1
1

Microsystems Research Group, Electrical and Electronic Engineering Department, University of Benghazi (* all others contributed equally)
area) and the highest crystal quality of any semiconductor material. The industry is able to produce microprocessors with hundreds of millions of components, all integrated onto a thumb-size chip [1] Photonic integrated circuits (PICs) can be implemented using various components according to the required functionality, active components for which the light can be controlled within (e.g. modulator to switch light ON/OFF, wavelength (frequency) converter, and optical memory where you can store light at will and release it at will), whereas passive components are the ones that you can’t control the behavior of light such as waveguides, resonators and light splitters to split light 50/50. One of the most important active components of a nanophotonic communication system is a fast electro-optic modulator, which takes in a DC optical input signal and switches it on/off using a high data-rate electronic signal.[5] Modulation is achieved by inducing a change in the phase or the intensity of the light, using a refractive index change or an absorption change, respectively. In silicon the free-carrier plasma dispersion (FCPD) effect can achieve both [6–9]. However, in all recently demonstrated electro-optic devices the FCPD has been relatively small, requiring either very large photonic devices or devices that leverage resonant effects to increase the sensitivity to small refractive index changes. Several silicon modulators based on the (FCPD) [3] in silicon have been demonstrated experimentally. These modulators are either based on metal-oxide-semiconductor (MOS) capacitors or p-i-n diodes. The p-i-n diodes can either work with high carrier injection using forward bias voltage above the diode threshold voltage, or be confined to voltage below threshold and rely on the depletion width modulation.[28] Alternatively, the modulator in [5] is realized by integrating Schottky’s diodes into the waveguide to control the free-carrier density. Schottky’s diodes have a significant advantage over traditional PN/PIN diodes because they are majority carrier devices that operate with very low turn on voltages, and are very fast [8] Rather than the limited speed in [28] carrier-injection-based p-i-n modulator which relies on the

Abstract— We present a novel design for an optical time domain demultiplexer that uses two cascaded silicon on insulator (SOI) resonators. The device overcomes the limitations for a single resonator demultiplexer and enables the realization for high speed integrated optical links. We use optical and electrical simulations to fully characterize the performance of the device. Index Terms—Electro-Optics Modulator, Ring Resonator, Multiplexing, Dimultiplexing.

I. INTRODUCTION After dominating the electronics industry for decades, silicon is on the verge of becoming the material of choice for the photonics industry, combining the capability of tight confinement of light and monolithic integration with electronic devices, silicon photonics is now the most active discipline within the field of integrated optics and have a wide range of applications (e.g. high-speed optical communications, optical interconnects, optoelectronic integration, etc…) [1] Research into silicon photonics is an end-to-end program to extend Moore‘s Law into new areas (more-Moore and morethan-Moore). In addition to Intel‘s expertise in fabricating processors from silicon as well as by academic research groups such as that of Prof. Michal Lipson could enable it to create inexpensive, high performance photonic devices that comprise numerous components integrated on one silicon die. Silicon has excellent material properties that are important in photonic devices. These include high thermal conductivity (~10× higher than GaAs), high optical damage threshold (~ 10× higher than GaAs), and high third-order optical nonlinearities. Kerr effect is 100 times larger than fibers, whereas Raman effect is 1000 times stronger than those in silica fiber.[1] The big success of today’s microelectronic industry is based on various factors[2] However, in recent years some concerns about the evolution of this industry have been raised which seem related to fundamental materials and processing aspects [3]. An important example is related to the limitations of the operating speed of microelectronic devices due to the interconnect [4] The traditional argument in favor of silicon photonics is based on its compatibility with the mature silicon IC manufacturing. Silicon wafers have the lowest cost (per unit

slower diffusion of minority carriers, as opposed to the faster motion of majority carriers. However, using resonant effects come with a tradeoff — the bandwidth of the device dramatically decreases. This is especially true for modulators based on micro-resonators, such as rings or discs [6,8–10]. The bandwidth of these resonators is so small that they are extremely sensitive to temperate variations, and very small fabrication imperfections. To overcome this limitation, high powered and complicated compensation techniques are required to precisely set and maintain the resonant wavelengths of all of the devices on the chip [11] In order to realize high bandwidth links some form of multiplexing scheme will be required to meet the bandwidth requirements for both intra-chip and on-chip communications [12] [13]. The leading multiplexing scheme is wavelength division multiplexing (WDM), where multiple wavelength channels are used to transmit information. Numerous WDM devices and systems have been demonstrated on a silicon chip as seen in just a few examples in References [14-18]. However, an inherent challenge with WDM is that the bit-rate of each wavelength channel is limited by the speed of each individual modulator. Since the modulators are likely to use on-chip electronic drivers, this channel bit-rate will likely be limited to no more than 10Gbit/s, thus requiring many precisely tuned wavelength channels to reach aggregated high data rates. In order to achieve significantly higher data rates in each channel, as proposed and demonstrated in [12] a simple scheme for time-multiplexing optical data [19-22] to high data rates from several slowly modulated paths, with simple generation of 20 Gb/s and 40 Gb/s from a 5 Gb/s input using optical timedivision multiplexer. This scheme is inherently passive and enables ultra high bit rates. In addition, with the recent demonstration of large bandwidth WDM components (>60 GHz) on a Silicon chip, such as switches [23] and interleavers [24], this OTDM device can be seamlessly integrated into a WDM system and it can increase the bit-rate of a data channel by combining data into multiple time-slots [27] This multiplexing can be done passively in the optical domain with no additional power requirements. However, the demultiplexing of very high bit-rate OTDM data requires complicated clock-recovery schemes, and optical nonlinearities to extract the low speed data channels. If the OTDM data can operate at lower rates it will simplify the demultiplexing of the data. We propose a solution to demultiplex the fast Time Division Multiplexing (TDM) bit-rates, which a single ring can’t handle. Here will follow another approach, that is changing the optical structure. II. DESIGN AND ANALYSIS OTDM is demonstrated by usage of a splitter to increase the bit rate of a train of pulses, afterwards a demultiplexer is placed at the receiver side operating with the ring resonators. First we to split the slow bit-rate signal into different paths, each has a different length that eventually will cause a delay, the delay between different arms can be constructed either passively [12] through having different waveguide lengths, or actively [29], these delays would effectively increase the bit

rate of the train-pulses signal after being combined again by the multiplexer. The number of these paths is controlled to gain any arbitrarily high bit rate, e.g when a 5Gbit/s signal gets spilt by 4 paths then delayed, the bit rate of the output becomes 4*5Gbit/s = 20Gbit/s (as shown in Fig.1) which have been demonstrated thoroughly in [12], and as we know, single resonators can’t comprehend this level of speed for demultiplexing.

Fig.1 OTDM operation concept, with initial rate of 5Gb/s increased to 20Gb/s demonstrated in [12].

III. SIMULATION METHOD DEMONSTRATED FOR A SINGLE RING The basic unit of the device is a ring resonator modulator. It consists of an embedded pin junction around the ring resonator as shown in the Fig.2, and by injection carriers with this pin diode, a change in the refractive index will occur, that leads to a change in the resonance wavelength of the ring and therefore changing the optical transmission of the link. Detailed discussion of the electrical and optical modeling can be found in [28,29], essentially the optical resonator, and capacitive based charge injection for the pin junction is modeled by the dynamic coupled mode theory.

Fig.2 SEM image of a ring resonator with different fields coupling to/from the system. The ring will have an integrated p-i-n diodes to modulate the optical tranmission electrically.

Following a similar approach to [28,29] we can describe the coupling between different fields in and out from the resonator of Fig.2 at any instant of time tm through a set of coupling coefficient as shown below.

refractive index, and an increase in the bandwidth due to the loss from the free carrier-light interaction which will affect the photon life time in the cavity.

t and k are the transmission and cross-coupling coefficients of the waveguide-ring coupler. We also set a rule for the field time evolution inside the resonator by defining a prober time step ∆t=tm-tm-1

The pin modulator has limited operation speed due to the relatively slow carrier dynamics in the junction. However, the transfer function of the device enables much faster modulation, since it has nonlinear characteristic. Hence, the optical response time will be much shorter than the electrical response time due to the nonlinearities. The nonlinear relationship between the optical transmission T at the wavelength λ0 and the total charge Q in the junction is given by [28]:

ϕ(t,λ) and γ and are the accumulated phase and the power loss coefficient per round trip of the resonator. By knowing the effective refractive index of the mode we can easily calculate the round trip phase as shown below.

Where

Using the set of equations presented above we can perform active time domain numerical simulations of arbitrary pulse shapes and time dependant ring-effective index. This will become of great importance when dealing with carrier injection to modulate the ring’s transmission for demultiplexing. which is mainly determined by the loss inside the ring, represented by the field transmission per round exp(−γ), and the coupling between the waveguide and the ring, represented by the field coupling coefficient κ, The ring and the waveguide coupled to the ring supports traveling wave with field amplitude E which 2 is normalized such that |E| represents the total power flowing through a given cross section of the ring and waveguide[30]. The transmission has a Lorentzian shape as shown in Fig.3 The response can be found by solving for the static ratio of the incident electric field EA and the transmitted electric field EC.

q = 1.6 E-19 C is the electron charge; ng = 4.3 is the group index of the ring; V is the volume of the junction; Γ = 0.8 is the mode confinement factor in the silicon waveguide; nf ≈ 4.3E-21 cm-3 is the ratio between the change of refractive index of silicon and the electron-hole-pair density ΔN when ΔN ~ 1017 cm-3 (number of electrons and holes per volume) , and Q is the quality factor of the ring resonator. For simplicity, we assume that the ring resonator is critically coupled to the waveguide, so that the optical transmission is zero at λ0 [28]. In the case of forward biasing for the diode, the electron and hole densities in the intrinsic region are equal, which results in total charge carried by electrons and holes Qh = –Qe = Q. Under dynamic driving voltage, the charge Q in the junction follows the following differential equation :

The plasma dispersion effect relations link the charge differential equation to the injected carrier density/ and refractive index change in silicon. When the diode is forward biased, current flows through the junction, and the resonance of the ring undergoes a blueshift, due to the accumulation of free carriers in the ring and correspondingly the refractive index decreases. FCPD-effect related through the relations:

Fig.3 Injected carriers effect on ring transmission

During the switching mode, the injection of carriers causes a blue shift in the resonance produced by the change in the

One can clearly see that the transmission of light at λ0 increases significantly (Fig.3). Therefore, the output optical power can be modulated by applying different voltages on the device.

IV. SINGLE RING DEMULTIPLEXER The heart of the demultiplexer is a single ring resonator, and it can be set in resonance with the data stream so it could be switched ON- and OFF resonance to “pick” certain bits. As the OTDM rates go higher and higher the single ring is restricted to certain a limit; the RC constant of the pin junction and the lifetime of the photon in the ring. Putting constraints on the switching speed of the ring. To demonstrate this we have applied a voltage to the ring resonator and plotted the refractive index shift as shown in Fig.4. The large RC constant of the device, limits high speed operations, as seen in the figure the steady state is reached in a time larger than 200 picoseconds

of the cascaded configuration. Each ring opens or closes the window before the other ring reaches steady state. Effectively the opened window with the current rise and fall time, operates at 20Gb/s, while each ring operate at 5Gb/s.

Fig.4 Switching of a single resonator is limited by the RC contact of pin junction.

V. DIFFERENTIAL (GATED) DEMULTIPLEXER The solution we propose is to operate at the initial slow clock of the stream while using a gated scheme. Using two resonators allows opening “windows” in the high-bit train. Any pulse can be picked once at a time for each period. The beauty of the method is the ability to use the “slow” rings to perform high speed pulse picking. The schematic is shown in Fig.5. The resonators are shown in different colors to emphasize the fact that they have distinct resonances because of the different voltages applied. Each resonator is controlled through a unique voltage V1,2. The data stream will be on resonance with the blue ring initially, then by applying the controlling voltage signal the resonances will be shifted back and forth based on the voltage value.

Fig.6 The voltage signals applied to the blue and red rings (a). The index shift in each ring (b). The overall transmission of a probe tuned to the blue ring resonance (c)

Now we are ready to apply the device to a real bit stream. We generated a random 20Gb/s data stream, and our goal is to demultiplex the third bit in each frame from the steam. The stream is tuned to the blue ring, while 5Gb/s rings are operated differentially. The input 20Gb/s stream and the output 5Gb/s stream are shown in Fig.7

Fig.5 Schematic of the demultiplexer with two cascaded ring resonators.

We used the configuration of two cascaded rings then applied a continuous wave laser signal (CW) tuned to be on resonance with the blue ring. Consequently, voltage signals (red and blue for reach ring) are applied shown in Fig.6. The transmission of the CW laser will change depending on the position of the rings with respect to the wavelength of the CW laser. Astonishingly the overall transmission show very “narrow” windows where the transmission is on, these windows are considered way faster compared to the slow response of the each ring. This is due to the differential nature

Fig.7 20Gb/s date stream is demultiplexed to a 5Gb/s steam using a differential resonator design.

The third bit was successfully extracted from the fast stream as shown in Fig.7

VI. CONCLUSION We presented a novel design for an optical time domain demultiplexer, that uses two cascaded silicon on insulator (SOI) resonators, to demultiplex high bit rates using a set of "slow" resonators (to perform high speed pulse picking). The device overcomes the limitations for a single resonator demultiplexer and enables the realization of high speed integrated optical links. We used optical and electrical simulations to fully characterize the performance of the device using MATLAB script. We concluded that although each ring has a slow response time for the index shift, but the overall transmission show very narrow windows where the transmission is on. These windows break by far the speed limit of a single ring. The reason is the differential operation of the cascaded system, each ring opens or closes the window before the other ring reaches steady state. Effectively the opened window with the current rise and fall time, operates at 20Gb/s, while each ring operate at 5Gb/s. REFERENCES
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