Single and multiple optical switches that use freestanding silicon nanowire waveguide couplers

Yuta Akihama, Kazuhiro Hane

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Citations (Scopus)


Silicon photonic devices consisting of nanowire waveguides are a promising technology for on-chip integration in future optical telecommunication and interconnection systems based on silicon-large scale integration fabrication. However, the accommodation of variable optical components on a chip remains challenging due to the small size of microchips. In this study, we investigated the characteristics of a microelectromechanical silicon nanowire waveguide switch with a gap-variable coupler. Due to its capacitive operation, the proposed waveguide switch consumed negligible power relative to switches that use a thermo-optical effect and carrier injection. The proposed switch was characterized using analyses based on coupled-mode theory for rectangular waveguides, as well as a simulation using the finite difference time domain method. A 2×2 single switch with an improved configuration and a 2×6 multiple switch composed of the 2×2 switches was designed and fabricated by a combination of electron beam lithography, fast-atom beam etching and hydrofluoric acid vapor sacrificial etching. The properties of the switches were measured and evaluated at a wavelength of 1.55 μm.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere16
JournalLight: Science and Applications
Issue numberJUNE
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • Microelectromechanical systems
  • Optical switch
  • Silicon photonics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics


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