Journal of the European Optical Society - Rapid publications, Vol 5 (2010)

Low-loss amorphous silicon waveguides grown by PECVD on indium tin oxide

S. Rao, F. G. Della Corte, C. Summonte


Low-loss hydrogenated amorphous silicon (α-Si:H) waveguides were realized by plasma enhanced chemical vapour deposition (PECVD) on a transparent conductive oxide (TCO) layer which is intended to provide the buried contact for the application of an external bias in active devices, e.g. switches and modulators. In particular we propose a technological solution to overcome both the strong reduction in optical transmittance due to the very high extinction coefficient of metal contacts and, at the same time, the optical scattering induced by the texturization effect induced in α-Si:H films grown on TCO. The very high optical propagation losses were minimized by depositing a spin-on-glass (SOG) layer between the α-Si:H core-layer and the TCO bottom contact. In this case, propagation losses of 2.5 dB/cm at 1550 nm were measured. All the fabricated samples were optically characterized and the surface roughness was accurately measured using a mechanical profilometer. We observed that, for an α-Si:H core-layer directly deposited on the TCO contact, the surface roughness is of the order of 100 nm leading to totally opaque waveguides. The experimental performances have been compared to those obtained through calculations using an optical simulation package. The results are found to be in agreement with the experimental data.

© The Authors. All rights reserved. [DOI: 10.2971/jeos.2010.10039s]

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