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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Si/Ge photodiodes for coherent and analog communication
by Piels, Molly, Ph.D., University of California, Santa Barbara, 2013, 304; 3612014
Abstract (Summary)

High-speed photodiodes have diverse applications in wireless and fiber communications. They can be used as output stages for antenna systems as well as receivers for fiber optic networks. Silicon is an attractive substrate material for photonic components for a number of reasons. Low cost manufacturing in CMOS fabrication facilities, low material loss at telecommunications wavelengths, and relatively simple co-packaging with electronics are all driving interest in silicon photonic devices. Since silicon does not absorb light at telecommunications wavelengths, photodetector fabrication requires the integration of either III-V materials or germanium. Recent work on germanium photodetectors has focused on low-capacitance devices suitable for integration with silicon electronics. These devices have excellent bandwidth and efficiency, but have not been designed for the levels of photocurrent required by coherent and analog systems. This thesis explores the design, fabrication, and measurement of photodetectors fabricated on silicon with germanium absorbing regions for high speed and high power performance.

There are numerous design trade-offs between speed, efficiency, and output power. Designing for high bandwidth favors small devices for low capacitance. Small devices require abrupt absorption profiles for good efficiency, but design for high output power favors large devices with dilute absorption. The absorption profile can be controlled by the absorber layer thickness, but this will also affect the bandwidth and power handling. This work quantifies the trade-offs between high speed, high efficiency, and high power design. Intrinsic region thickness and absorption profile are identified as the most important design variables. For PIN structures, the absorption profile and intrinsic region thickness are both functions of the Ge thickness, but in uni-traveling carrier (UTC) structures the absorption profile and intrinsic region can be designed independently. This allows optimization of the absorption profile independently from the RC-limited frequency response and compression current and ultimately enables larger saturation current-bandwidth products. This thesis includes the first theory, fabrication, and measurement of a uni-traveling carrier photodiode on the Si/Ge platform. Key contributions include an accurate nonlinear device model and a complete set of processes and design rules for fabricating Ge devices in the UCSB nanofab. The UTC structure is shown to be useful in extending the bandwidth and power handling capabilities of waveguide-integrated photodiodes, especially at high frequencies.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Bowers, John E.
Commitee: Coldren, Larry A., Dagli, Nadir, Rodwell, Mark J.
School: University of California, Santa Barbara
Department: Electrical and Computer Engineering
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 75/06(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Electrical engineering, Nanotechnology, Optics
Publication Number: 3612014
ISBN: 978-1-303-73159-4
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