Optically resonant periodic electrode (ORPEL) structures developed for use as an optical modulator at telecommunication wavelengths using standard microelectronic processes have been successfully fabricated. These structures combine passive optical components (i.e. waveguides, diffraction gratings) with optical and/or electrical excitation, which alters the optical properties of the device. Although the electro-optical effect in silicon is weak in comparison to HI-V materials, a change in the free carrier concentration will cause a change in the effective index of refraction, and can alter the resonance wavelength. Optical test results have demonstrated resonance near 1550 nm on devices with grating pitches ranging from 0.68 to 1.08micrometer. Parameters which are important to the electrical operation and optical performance of the devices have been investigated, both experimentally and using computer simulation. Simulation software has proven to be a very useful tool in structural and optical modeling of ORPEL devices; optical modeling predictions and experimental results for 0.70micrometer pitch grating structures are in reasonable agreement. This work will present the theory of operation, device design, fabrication details, and electrical and optical measurements on ORPEL structures.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Light modulators; Modulators (Electronics); Electrooptics; Silicon--Optical properties

Publication Date


Document Type


Department, Program, or Center

Microelectronic Engineering (KGCOE)


Hirschman, Karl

Advisor/Committee Member

Ewbank, Dale

Advisor/Committee Member

Brown, Thomas


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