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Published January 2010 | Published
Journal Article Open

Silicon-Based Plasmonics for On-Chip Photonics


Silicon-based photonic devices dissipate substantially less power and provide a significantly greater information bandwidth than electronic components. Unfortunately, large-scale integration of photonic devices has been limited by their large, wavelength-scale size and the weak optical response of Si. Surface plasmons may overcome these two limitations. Combining the high localization of electronic waves with the propagation properties of optical waves, plasmons can achieve extremely small mode wavelengths and large local electromagnetic field intensities. Si-based plasmonics has the potential to not only reduce the size of photonic components to deeply subwavelength scales, but also to enhance the emission, detection, and manipulation of optical signals in Si. In this paper, we discuss recent advances in Si-based plasmonics, including subwavelength interconnects, modulators, and emission sources. From scales spanning slab waveguides to single nanocrystals, we show that Si-based plasmonics can enable optical functionality competitive in size and speed with contemporary electronic components.

Additional Information

© 2010 IEEE. Manuscript received. May 26, 2009; revised August 12, 2009. Current version published February 5, 2010. This work was supported by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) under Grant FA9550-06-1-0480 and Grant FA9550-04-1-0434. The work of J. A. Dionne was supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF), a National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) Fellowship administered by the Army Research Office, and DOW Chemical funds. This review has benefitted from numerous discussions with friends and colleagues. The authors especially acknowledge E. Verhagen, K. Diest, and A. Polman for contributions to the theory and experiments presented. They also acknowledge use of facilities of the Center for Science and Engineering of Materials and of the National Science Foundation (NSF) MRSEC. They also thank S. Hughes of Queens University for advice related to efficient FDTD implementation of LDOS calculations.

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