Author ORCID Identifier

Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Electrical & Computer Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Nathaniel Kinsey


Photonic integrated circuits (PICs), semiconductor chips with both photonic and electronic elements, are seeing rapid development and have the potential to transform several industries, such as autonomous driving, computing, telecommunication and quantum networks. However, realization and wide adoption of PICs across the various fields faces a key challenge – soze disparity between electronic (~0.01 um) and photonic components (~100’s of um). Plasmonics, a technology which confines light to the interface of metals and dielectrics, has a potential to address challenges. In particular, it has been shown to led to smaller devices (~10 um or less), enabling higher density optical circuits and devices on-chip. However, the technology is limited by quite extraordinarily high off-state transmission, wherein ~10% of an input signal makes it out of the device. This is simply too high to be practical. This thesis addresses this size disparity, while maintaining high speeds (100’s of GHz), low losses (< 1dB) and high energy efficiency (~ 100 fJ/bit), through the concept of plasmon-assisted devices.

The plasmon-assisted design philosophy is based on engaging and disengaging the lossy plasmonic component based on when active modulation is needed. As will be shown, the use of the plasmon-assisted approach generates proposed devices that have the potential to exhibit record performance, significantly elevating the capabilities of integrated photonic devices while greatly reducing the size disparity. For example, the all-oxide modulator can exhibit resistive-capacitive (RC) limited speeds of up to 333 GHz with a sub 0.2 dB insertion loss (IL), while the hybrid polymer-based modulator can exhibit RC limited speeds of 700 GHz but with narrow linewidth. The NOEM based devices can operate with record low energy consumption, down to a few 100 aJ/bit. In addition, this record-breaking performance can be achieved with device that are less than 40 um2 in size.


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