July 09, 2018

Inter-polarization mixers for coherent detection of optical signals

  • Chandrasekhar S.
  • Chen Y.
  • Dong P.
  • Fontaine N.
  • Kim K.
  • Melikyan A.

Electro-magnetic (EM) mixers are fundamental building blocks in communication systems. They are used in frequency/wavelength filters, interferometric modulators, amplitude-phase receivers, to name a few. Traditional EM mixers have two or more input ports and work only for co-polarized signal and local-oscillator (LO) incident on its inputs. Here we report on novel designs, in silicon, of inter-polarization EM mixers operating at 1550 nm wavelength. The 180-degree optical mixer comprising a single input port is demonstrated to coherently mix orthogonally polarized signal and LO. Using the proposed 180-degree mixer, we report on a novel design for a 90-degree optical mixer on silicon with small footprint, broadband response, low loss and good fabrication tolerance. It exploits birefringence of a waveguide to achieve broadband and fabrication-tolerant 90?phase di erence between the signal/LO relative phase in the in-phase and quadrature components. A monolithic silicon photonics coherent receiver is demonstrated using the reported 90-degree mixer, and its operation at 22 Gbaud and 44 Gbaud is shown. These mixers pave the way for novel coherent receiver architectures in long-haul, metro, passive optical networks and data-center interconnect applications.

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