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The Path Forward: Silicon optical modulator for CMOS ICs
Keywords: siicon, CMOS, photonics
It is widely known that a reverse-biased p-n junction under avalanche breakdown has the ability to emit visible light. This paper reviews a silicon p-type metal-oxide-field-effect-transistor (Si-PMOSFET) device that can work as two gate-controlled diodes symmetrically connected in parallel. More specifically, the “P+ type Drain/Source” terminal is connected to the ground and the “N type substrate” terminal operates at a positive voltage that is a fixed value so that the variation of the voltage of the insulated-gate terminal can adjust the field distribution at the depletion region of the “P+ type Drain/Source”-“N type substrate” reverse-biased junction. Due to the correlation between the breakdown current flowing through the p-n junction and the optical emission power from the avalanching region of the p-n junction as a function of the filed distribution, the modulation of light intensity seems to be reasonably feasible by means of varying the gate voltage. It is noted that, compared with the Si-diode LED, a major advantage of the Si-PMOSFET LED is that this device is a three-terminal device which has a gate terminal. Moreover, because of the full compatibility with the standard silicon complementary-metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) process, this Si-PMOSFET LED is capable of integrating with other silicon devices or circuits very well to realize monolithic integration in the field of optoelectronics [1], [2].
Kaikai Xu,
University of California, Irvine
Irvine, CA

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