In this work, we explore inverse designed reconfigurable digital metamaterial structures based on phase change material Sb2Se3for efficient and compact integrated nanophotonics. An exemplary design of a 1 × 2 optical switch consisting of a 3 µm x 3 µm pixelated domain is demonstrated. We show that: (i) direct optimization of a domain containing only Si and Sb2Se3pixels does not lead to a high extinction ratio between output ports in the amorphous state, which is owed to the small index contrast between Si and Sb2Se3in such a state. As a result, (ii) topology optimization, e.g., the addition of air pixels, is required to provide an initial asymmetry that aids the amorphous state's response. Furthermore, (iii) the combination of low loss and high refractive index change in Sb2Se3, which is unique among all phase change materials in the telecommunications 1550 nm band, translates into an excellent projected performance; the optimized device structure exhibits a low insertion loss (∼1.5 dB) and high extinction ratio (>18 dB) for both phase states.
The objective of this Opinion is to stimulate new research into materials that can meet the needs of tomorrow’s programmable photonics components. Herein, we argue that the inherent property portfolios of the common telluride phase change materials, which have been successfully applied in data storage technologies, are unsuitable for most emerging programmable photonics applications. We believe that newer PCMs with wider bandgaps, such as Sb2S3, Sb2Se3, and Ge2Sb2Se4Te (GSST), can be optimized to meet the demands of holographic displays, optical neural network memories, and beam steering devices.
- Award ID(s):
- Publication Date:
- NSF-PAR ID:
- Journal Name:
- Optical Materials Express
- Page Range or eLocation-ID:
- Article No. 2368
- Optical Society of America
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
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