Periodic Reporting for period 4 - INsPIRE (Chip-scale INtegrated Photonics for the mid-Infra REd)
Reporting period: 2019-10-01 to 2020-03-31
• It has been demonstrated that the Ge-rich graded SiGe platform relying on a graded SiGe layer epitaxially grown on Si substrate, presents definitive advantage in terms of mid-IR photonics platform, as a single waveguide can be used with low propagation losses in an unprecedent wavelength range, up to 11 µm, for both TE and TM polarization.
• The Ge-rich SiGe platform has been tested as a mid-IR photonic chip-scale sensor, based on the use of the evanescent component of the guided optical mode to probe specific molecular absorption features of the surrounding cladding environment. As a proof of concept, we monitored the absorption spectral patterns of a standalone photoresist spin-coated onto spiral Ge-rich SiGe waveguides. A significant increase of the waveguide optical loss at the spectral window of 5.8-6.2 µm is identified and correlated with the inherent photoresist absorption. The ability of this platform to sense small concentrations of methane gas has also been discussed.
• A set of passive devices has been demonstrated, building a complete integrated mid-IR platform : Mach Zehnder interferometer working from 5.5 to 8.5 µm wavelength, both in TE and TM polarization have been demonstrated as well as the first resonators working in the 8 µm range, based either on Fabry-Perot cavity using Bragg grating mirrors or racetrack resonators
• Fourier transform spectrometers have been demonstrated, in the spatial heterodyne configuration. Operation from 5 to 8.5 µm is demonstrated. A new thermally-tuned spatial heterodyne spectrometer has been proposed and demonstrated, to overcome the resolution/bandwidth tradeoff of classical approaches.
• All-optical modulation has been demonstrated confirming theoretical free-carrier electro-absorption predictions and paving the way for efficient electrically driven optical modulators.
• Finally efficient tailoring of the chromatic dispersion curves of these waveguides in the mid-IR is expected. Thus waveguides have been designed for the exploitation of non-linear effects, achieving broadband flat anomalous dispersion for the quasi-TM optical mode with γmax = 14 ps/nm/km over ~ 1.4 octave spanning (λ ~ 3 - 8 µm).
In the different cases, new concepts have been proposed and demonstrated to adapt the photonics devices to the specificities of the mid-IR range (especially the wide spectral range when multispecies absorption spectroscopy is targeted). These results pave the way towards the demonstration of compact, portable, label-free and highly sensitive photonic integrated sensors based on Ge-rich SiGe circuits.