A key device in future high speed short reach interconnect technology will be the optical modulator. These devices, in silicon, have experienced dramatic improvements over the last 6 years and the modulation bandwidth has increased from a few tens of MHz to over 30 GHz. However, the demands of optical interconnects are significant. Here we describe an approach based on a self-aligned wrap around p-n junction structure embedded in a silicon waveguide that can produce high-speed optical phase modulation, whilst at the same time, capable of a high extinction ratio. An all-silicon optical modulator using a CMOS compatible fabrication process with a data rate of 40 Gb/s and extinction ratio up to approximately 6.5 dB for TE and TM polarisations is demonstrated. This technology is not only compatible with conventional complementary MOS (CMOS) processing, but is also intended to simplify and improve the reliability of, the fabrication process.
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