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  1. We propose a nanogap-enhanced phase-change waveguide with silicon PIN heaters. Thanks to the enhanced light-matter interaction in the nanogap, the proposed structure exhibits strong attenuation (Δα = ∼35 dB/µm) and optical phase (Δneff = ∼1.2) modulation atλ =1550 nm when achieving complete phase transitions. We further investigate two active optical devices based on the proposed waveguide, including an electro-absorption modulator and a 1 × 2 directional-coupler optical switch. Finite-difference time-domain simulation of the proposed modulator shows a high extinction ratio of ∼17 dB at 1550 nm with an active segment of volume only ∼0.004λ3. By exploiting a directional coupler design, we present a 1 × 2 optical switch with an insertion loss of < 4 dB and a compact coupling length of ∼ 15 µm while maintaining small crosstalk less than −7.2 dB over an optical bandwidth of 50 nm. Thermal analysis shows that a 10 V pulse of 30 ns (1×1 modulator) and 55 ns (1×2 switch) in duration is required to raise the GST temperature of the phase-change waveguide above the melting temperature to induce the amorphization; however, the complete crystallization occurs by applying a 5 V pulse of 180 ns (1×1 modulator) and a 6 V pulse of 200 ns (1×2 switch),more »respectively.

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  2. Abstract

    Reconfigurability of photonic integrated circuits (PICs) has become increasingly important due to the growing demands for electronic–photonic systems on a chip driven by emerging applications, including neuromorphic computing, quantum information, and microwave photonics. Success in these fields usually requires highly scalable photonic switching units as essential building blocks. Current photonic switches, however, mainly rely on materials with weak, volatile thermo‐optic or electro‐optic modulation effects, resulting in large footprints and high energy consumption. As a promising alternative, chalcogenide phase‐change materials (PCMs) exhibit strong optical modulation in a static, self‐holding fashion, but the scalability of present PCM‐integrated photonic applications is still limited by the poor optical or electrical actuation approaches. Here, with phase transitions actuated by in situ silicon PIN diode heaters, scalable nonvolatile electrically reconfigurable photonic switches using PCM‐clad silicon waveguides and microring resonators are demonstrated. As a result, intrinsically compact and energy‐efficient switching units operated with low driving voltages, near‐zero additional loss, and reversible switching with high endurance are obtained in a complementary metal‐oxide‐semiconductor (CMOS)‐compatible process. This work can potentially enable very large‐scale CMOS‐integrated programmable electronic–photonic systems such as optical neural networks and general‐purpose integrated photonic processors.