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Templated dewetting for self-assembled ultra low-loss chalcogenide integrated photonics

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Integrated photonics is of growing interest but relies on complex fabrication methods that have yet to match optical losses of bulkier platforms like optical fibers or whispering gallery mode resonators. Spontaneous matter reorganization phenomenon (e.g. dewetting) in thin-films provides a way for self-assembled structures with atomic scale surface rugosity, potentially alleviating the problems of roughness scattering loss and fabrication complexity. In this article, we study solid-state dewetting in chalcogenide glass thin-films and demonstrate its applicability to the fabrication of high-quality integrated photonics components. Optimal dewetting parameters are derived from a comprehensive experimental study of thin-film properties under high temperature rapid annealing. Atomic scale surface roughness are obtained using dewetting, with RMS values as low as Rq = 0.189 nm. Several integrated photonics components are fabricated using the method and characterized. We show that the use of pre-patterned templates leads to organized, reproducible patterns with large-scale uniformity and demonstrate the record high quality-factor of 4.7 × 106 in compact (R = 50 µm) microdisks, corresponding to 0.08 dB⋅cm−1 waveguide propagation loss. The integrated devices are directly fabricated on standard silicon-on-insulator dice using the micro-trench filling technique and coupled to silicon waveguides, making them readily deployable with existing silicon devices and systems.

Optical materials express, Vol. 11 (11), 3717-3735 (2021)
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