Forward bias operation of silicon photonic Mach Zehnder modulators for RF applications

Rui Lin Chao, Jin Wei Shi, Aditya Jain, Takako Hirokawa, Akhilesh S.P. Khope, Clint Schow, J. E. Bowers, Roger Helkey, James F. Buckwalter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


In this paper, we demonstrate that forward bias (+0.9V) of a high-speed silicon (Si) optical Mach-Zehnder Modulator (MZM) increases the radio-frequency (RF) link gain by 30 dB when compared to reverse bias operation (-8V). RF applications require tunable, narrowband electro-optic conversion with high gain to mitigate noise of the optical receiver and realize high RF spur-free dynamic range. Compared to reverse bias, the forward bias gain rolls off more rapidly but offers higher RF link gain improvement of more than 13.2 dB at 20 GHz. Furthermore, forward bias is shown to result in comparable spurious-free dynamic range (SFDR: 104.5 dB.Hz2/3). We demonstrate through an analytical dc transfer curve the existence of simultaneous high gain and OIP3 and verify the theoretical results with measurement under forward bias at a bias point of around +0.9 V.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23181-23190
Number of pages10
JournalOptics Express
Issue number19
StatePublished - 18 Sep 2017


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