Laterally Vibrating Resonator Based Elasto-Optic Modulation in Aluminum Nitride
CARNEGIE-MELLON UNIV PITTSBURGH PA PITTSBURGH United States
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An integrated strain-based optical modulator driven by a piezoelectric laterally vibrating resonator is demonstrated. The composite structure consists of an acoustic Lamb wave resonator, in which a photonic racetrack resonator is internally embedded to enable overlap of the guided optical mode with the induced strain field. Both types of resonators are defined in an aluminum nitride AlN thin film, which rests upon a layer of silicon dioxide in order to simultaneously define optical waveguides, and the structure is released from a silicon substrate. Lateral vibrations produced by the acoustic resonator are transferred through a partially etched layer of AlN, producing a change in the effective index of the guided wave through the interaction of the strain components with the AlN elasto-optic p coefficients. Optical modulation through the elasto-optic effect is demonstrated at electromechanically actuated frequencies of 173 MHz and 843 MHz. This device geometry further enables the development of MEMS-based optical modulators in addition to studying elasto-optic interactions in suspended piezoelectric thin films.