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Ultrafast Nonlinear and Strong-Field Phenomena in Silicon-Based Nanoplasmonic Waveguides Open Access


Other title
Nonlinear Optics
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Sederberg, Matthew Shawn Bror
Supervisor and department
Elezzabi, Abdulhakem (Electrical and Computer Engineering)
Examining committee member and department
Jacob, Zubin (Electrical and Computer Engineering)
DeCorby, Ray (Electrical and Computer Engineering)
Iyer, Ashwin (Electrical and Computer Engineering)
Cadien, Ken (Chemical and Materials Engineering)
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Photonics and Plasmas
Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
This thesis presents the realization and characterization of passive and active photonic and nanoplasmonic waveguides for applications in all-optical circuitry. The key results focus on generating visible light in nanoscale silicon waveguides through nonlinear interactions and demonstrating ultrafast all-optical modulation through nonlinear loss mechanisms. Nanofabrication processes are developed to interface silicon photonic waveguides and silicon-based nanoplasmonic waveguides, along with a technique to integrate nanoplasmonic waveguides onto a macroscopic characterization beam. Passive propagation and nonlinear interactions are investigated in silicon-on-insulator photonic waveguides to provide a detailed understanding of nonlinear interactions present in silicon at lambda=1550nm and the relevant timescales of the interactions. Extensive investigations into third-harmonic generation in silicon photonic waveguides are performed, and conversion efficiencies up to 2.8x10^{-5} are measured. Measurements of the passive performance of silicon-based nanoplasmonic waveguides revealed a propagation length of 2.0um at lambda=1550nm and a coupling efficiency of 38% to silicon photonic waveguides. The concepts of nonlinear light generation and ultrafast modulation are then applied to sub-wavelength silicon-based nanoplasmonic waveguides. Third-harmonic generation with conversion efficiencies up to 2.3x10^{-5} is demonstrated in a nanoplasmonic waveguide with a footprint of 0.43um^2. Accurate investigations of ultrafast nonlinear interactions in silicon-based nanoplasmonic waveguides integrated onto a macroscopic characterization beam are performed using pump-probe time-domain measurements. Ponderomotive acceleration of two-photon absorption-generated free-carriers in silicon-based nanoplasmonic waveguides is examined and it is demonstrated that electrons can be accelerated to energies exceeding the threshold for impact ionization. Measurements reveal that the highly confined nanoplasmonic field drives an electron avalanche, and white light emission resulting from the avalanche is observed to scale exponentially with the input power. The electron avalanche effectively sweeps free-carriers from the nanoplasmonic waveguide on a timescale of ~ps, allowing for a reduction in the free-carrier recovery time by more than two orders of magnitude compared to silicon photonic waveguides.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
Citation for previous publication
A. Y. Elezzabi, Z. Han, S. Sederberg, and V. Van, "Ultrafast all-optical modulation in silicon-based nanoplasmonic devices," Optics Express 17, 11045-11056 (2009).

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