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GrapHICS focused project explores the low-cost and low-thermal-budget technology of hydrogenated amorphous Silicon (a-Si:H )in conjunction with the excellent electro-optical properties of Graphene (Gr) to demonstrate a new photonic platform that can be realized with CMOS processes. The demonstrator target device is an active MxN active router intended as a replacement of passive splitters used today in passive optical networks (PON). It will increase network design flexibility and scalability, while offering advantages in terms of cost, functionality and power consumption.

GrapHICS is part of Spoke 1 – Pervasive and Photonic Network Technologies and Infrastructures

  • Gaining knowledge on the main technologies and process parameters used to deposit hydrogenated amorphous silicon. In particular, an extensive study was conducted on the effects of depositing a-Si:H on Graphene (Gr) using the PECVD technique. The main goal is that of understanding how this process alters the properties of Gr
  • Developing a solution for implementing the power-over-the-fiber architecture. A wide optical bandwidth photodiode was chosen and fully characterized, and a high efficiency dc-dc converter circuit was designed, realized and tested, which should be capable of providing up to 30 mW of power
  • Studying different devices for realizing spatial light switching, in order to select the most reliable and lower power one. Microring resonators, with parallel and serial configurations, multi-mode interference structures, digital optical switches based on adiabatic Y-splitters, have been considered so far. A study has started recently aiming at simulating the integration of Graphene layers as an active material to induce switching. Finally, plasma-optic effect was characterized for the first time in a-SiC, by observing resonance frequency shift in a 30-um-wide ring resonator under illumination.
  • Designing single-mode and polarization independent a-Si/c-Si large cross-section waveguides.
Design, fabrication and characterization of a-Si:H-based ring resonators on a Silicon-on- Oxide substrate. The device also shows thermo-optic modulation, induced by Juole effect in a microheater made of Ti defined on its top surface by photolithography. At the telecommunication wavelength of 1550 nm, the thermo-optic modulator consumes an electric power of 3 mW to enable a resonance wavelength shift corresponding to a large modulation depth of about 96%.

Dynamic thermo-optic modulation was demonstrated at a switching frequency of 10 kHz with rise and fall times of 16 us and 13 us, respectively. Plasma-optic effect was also characterized in a-SiC:H.
E.D. Mallemace, Y.L., X. Shi, D. Chaussende, V. Tabouret, S. Rao, H. Ou, F. G. Della Corte, Amorphous silicon-carbide modulator based on the thermo-optic effect, ICSCRM - International Conference on Silicon Carbide and Related Materials 2023, 17-22 September 2023, Sorrento, Italy
1. Papers on Q1 journals
  • expected: 6
  • accomplished: 1
  • readiness: 50%
2. Communications at international conferences
  • expected: 6
  • accomplished: 3
  • readiness: 150%
3. Scientific journal papers with at least two partners
  • expected: 5
  • accomplished: 1
  • readiness: 80%
4. Prototypes (wide bandwidth integrated switch matrix)
  • expected: 1
  • accomplished: 0
  • readiness: 0%
5. Dedicated workshops within international conferences
  • expected: 1
  • accomplished: 0
  • readiness: 0%
6. MSc students involved
  • expected: 6
  • accomplished: 2
  • readiness: 130%

Project PI: Francesco Giuseppe Della Corte

Collaboration proposals
The project is open to collaborations on the following topics:

  • Green optical network architectures.
  • Novel materials and novel photonic integrated circuits for datacom.
  • Physical layer modeling and capacity scaling in optical communication system

For any proposal of collaboration within the project please contact the project PI.