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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractSol-gel materials are an important material class, as they provide for easy modification of material properties, good processability and routine synthesis. This allows for the tailoring of the material properties to the needs of specific device designs. In the case of electro-optic modulators with a coplanar or coplanar strip (CPS) electrode design, sol-gel cladding materials can be used to confine the light to the electro-optic material as well as to concentrate the electrical field used for poling and driving the modulator. Another important material property that can influence the poling efficiency is the conductivity of the material surrounding the electro-optic material, and this property can also be controlled. In this dissertation I discuss several approaches to altering the material properties of sol-gel materials in order to achieve a specific performance objective. The optical loss in the telecom regime as well the refractive index will be discussed. I will introduce a novel titania-based family of sol-gel materials, which exhibit very high refractive indices, tuneability and high dielectric constant (ε). Coplanar electrode design is useful for device platforms that do not allow for a microstrip geometry, such as silicon and Si₃N₄ devices. CPS electrodes however bring new challenges with them, especially optimizing the poling process. I will discuss a method for characterizing coplanar poled polymer films by a modified Teng-Man technique as well as with second harmonic microscope (SHM). SHM allows for an almost real-time mapping of the Pockels coefficient. The described method allows for quantitative measurements of the Pockels coefficient in a poled film with spatial resolution at the micron level. Finally, I will discuss the device design considerations for a silicon-EO hybrid modulator. Optimal dimensions for the silicon waveguide are shown and the feasibility of the proposed electrode design for high speed operation is theoretically shown. All design parameters, including electrode spacing and height are optimized towards the highest possible figure of merit. The functionality of a simple test device is shown. For Si₃N₄ waveguides optimal dimensions are found as well and the influence of a high ε sol-gel side cladding is examined.
Degree ProgramGraduate College