A Review of the Building Blocks of Silicon Photonics: From Fabrication Perspective


  • Md Jubayer Shawon Shawon Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering University of Idaho
  • Feng Li Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering University of Idaho




Silicon photonics is a disruptive semiconductor technology that taps into the extraordinary properties of light while taking full advantage of the already matured CMOS processes developed in the semiconductor industry. However, just like electronic industry in the 1970s, currently, silicon photonics is in its infancy. The fundamental building blocks of silicon photonics such as waveguides, lasers, modulators, etc. are yet to be fully optimized for low-cost-mass-manufacturing. In this paper, the current state-of-the-art related to developing and optimizing these aforementioned key components will be presented. The challenges of process integration regarding Silicon photonics will also be discussed.


silicon photonics, ring resonators, CMOS, hybrid integration, monolithic integration


[1] D.Takahashi. [Online] Available: https://venturebeat.com/2017/06/04/ibm-research-creates-a-groundbreaking-5-nanometer-chip/.

[2] [Online] Available: http://www.leti-cea.com/cea-tech/leti/english.

[3] [Online] Available: https://www.a-star.edu.sg/ime/.

[4] [Online]. Available: https://www.imec-int.com/en/home.

[5] L. Chrostowski, in Silicon photonics design: from devices to systems, Cambridge University Press, 2015. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/cbo9781316084168

[6] K. Yamada, "Silicon Photonics Based on Photonic Wire Waveguides," OptoElectronics and Communications Conference, OECC 2009, 2009. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1109/OECC.2009.5219967

[7] [Online] Available: http://www.3dic.org/Waveguide.

[8] [Online] Available: http://photonicswiki.org/index.php?title=Photonics_Integration.

[9] [Online] Available: http://www.europractice-ic.com/SiPhotonics_technology_imec_ISIPP50G.php.

[10] [Online] Available: https://www.ihp-microelectronics.com/en/start.html.

[11] [Online] Available: http://www.leti-cea.com/cea-tech/leti/english/Pages/Applied-Research/Strategic-Axes/optics-photonics.aspx.

[12] Y. Zou, et. al, "Grating-coupled silicon-on-sapphire integrated slot waveguides operating at mid-infrared wavelengths," Optics letters, vol. 39.10, pp. 3070-3073, 2014. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1364/OL.39.003070

[13] YC, Chang. et. al., "Low-loss germanium strip waveguides on silicon for the mid-infrared," Opt. Lett., vol. 37, p. 2883– 2885, 2012. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1364/OL.37.002883

[14] J. S. Penadés, et. al., "Suspended SOI waveguide with sub- wavelength grating cladding for mid-infrared," Optics letters, no. 39.19, pp. 5661-5664, 2014. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1364/OL.39.005661

[15] P. Dumon, et.al, "Low-loss SOI photonic wires and ring resonators fabricated with deep UV lithography," Photonics Technology Letters, vol. 16.5, pp. 1328-1330, 2004. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1109/LPT.2004.826025

[16] RG Hunsperger, Losses in Optical Waveguides, Integrated Optics Theory and Technology, New York, NY, Springer, (2009).

[17] R. Soref, "Mid-infrared photonics in silicon and germanium," Nature Photonics, vol. 4, p. 495–497, Aug. 2010.

[18] A. Malik, "Germanium-on-Silicon Mid- Infrared Arrayed Waveguide Grating Multiplexers," IEEE Photonics Technology Letters, pp. 1805 - 1808, 2013. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1109/LPT.2013.2276479

[19] Nicola Daldosso, "Comparison Among Various Si3N4 Waveguide Geometries Grown Within a CMOS Fabrication Pilot Line," J. Lightwave Technol., vol. 22, pp. 1734- , 2004. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1109/JLT.2004.831182

[20] H. S. Han, "Optical gain at 1.54 μm in erbium-doped silicon nanocluster sensitized waveguide," Applied physics letters, vol. 79.27, pp. 4568-4570, 2001. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1063/1.1419035

[21] P. Knights, Silicon Photonics: An Introduction, John Wiley & Sons, 2004. DOI:https://doi.org/10.1002/0470014180

[22] A. Soref, "Electrooptical Effects in Silicon," IEEE J. Quantum Elect., Vols. vol. QE-23, pp. 123-129.DOI: https://doi.org/10.1109/JQE.1987.1073206

[23] G. T. Reed, et. al,"Silicon optical modulators," Nature photonics, vol. 4.8, pp. 518-526, 2010.DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/nphoton.2010.179

[24] B. Soref, et. al., "Kramers-Kronig analysis of electro-optical switching in silicon," Integrated Optical Circuit Engineering IV, vol. 704, 1987. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1117/12.937193

[25] A. Liu, et.al.,"A high-speed silicon optical modulator based on a metal–oxide–semiconductor capacitor," Nature, vol. 427.6975, pp. 615-618, 2004. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/nature02310

[26] A. Liu, et.al.,"High-speed optical modulation based on carrier depletion in a silicon waveguide," Optics Express, DOI:https://doi.org/10.1364/OE.15.000660, vol. 15.2, pp. 660-668, 2007.

[27] S. Gupta, et. al. "50GHz Ge waveguide electro-absorption modulator integrated in a 220nm SOI photonics platform," Optical Fiber Communication Conference. Optical Society of America, 2015.DOI: https://doi.org/10.1364/OFC.2015.Tu2A.4

[28] S. Ren, et. al.,"A Ge/SiGe quantum well waveguide modulator monolithically integrated with SOI waveguides," in Group IV Photonics (GFP), 2011 8th IEEE International Conference on. IEEE, 2011. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1109/GROUP4.2011.6053699

[29] H. Shimizu, "Shimizu, Hiromasa. "Monolithic Integration of Semiconductor Waveguide Optical Isolators with Distributed Feedback Laser Diodes," Advances in Optical and Photonic Devices, 2010 DOI: https://doi.org/10.5772/7140.

[30] A. W. Fang, et. al., "Electrically pumped hybrid AlGaInAs- silicon evanescent laser," Optics express, vol. 14.20, pp. 9203-9210, 2006. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1364/OE.14.009203

[31] X. Luo, et. al.,"High-throughput multiple dies-to-wafer bonding technology and III/V-on-Si hybrid lasers for heterogeneous integration of optoelectronic integrated circuits," Photonic Integration and Photonics-Electronics Convergence on Silicon Platform, vol. 45, 2015. DOI: https://doi.org/10.3389/fmats.2015.00028

[32] D. Liang, et. al., "Hybrid integrated platforms for silicon photonics," Materials, vol. 3.3, pp. 1782-1802, 2010. DOI:https://doi.org/10.3390/ma3031782

[33] J. Liu, et al, "Ge-on-Si laser operating at room temperature," Optics letters, vol. 35.5, pp. 679-681, (2010). DOI:https://doi.org/10.1364/OL.35.000679

[34] Z. Cheng, et. al., "Focusing subwavelength grating coupler for mid-infrared suspended membrane waveguide," Optics Letter, vol. 37, p. 1217–1219, 2012. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1364/OL.37.001217

[35] [Online] Available:https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/company-overview/company-overview.html.


How to Cite

Shawon, M. J. S., & Li, F. (2019). A Review of the Building Blocks of Silicon Photonics: From Fabrication Perspective. Semiconductor Science and Information Devices, 1(1), 29–35. https://doi.org/10.30564/ssid.v1i1.1282


Article Type