Empirical model for the temperature dependence of silicon refractive index from O to C band based on waveguide measurements
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An accurate model for the silicon refractive index including its temperature and wavelength dependence is critically important for many disciplines of science and technology. Currently, such a model for temperatures above 22°C in the optical communication bands is not available. The temperature dependence in the spectral response of integrated echelle grating filters made in silicon-on-insulator is solely determined by the optical properties of the slab waveguide, making it largely immune to dimensional uncertainties. This feature renders the echelle filters a reliable tool to evaluate the thermo-optic properties of silicon. Here we investigate the temperature dependence of silicon echelle filters for the wavelength range of both O and C bands, measured between 22°C to 80°C. We show that if a constant thermo-optic coefficient of silicon is assumed for each band, as is common in the literature, the predictions show an underestimate of up to 10% in the temperature-induced channel wavelength shift. We propose and assess a model of silicon refractive index that encompasses both the wavelength and temperature dependence of its thermo-optic coefficients. We start from literature data for bulk silicon and further refine the model using the echelle filter measurement results. This model is validated through accurate predictions of device channel wavelengths and their temperature dependence, including the quadratic term, over a wide wavelength and temperature range. This work also demonstrates a new high-precision method for characterizing the optical properties of a variety of materials.
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