## Theory of electro-optic modulation via a quantum dot coupled to a nano-resonator

Optics Express, Vol. 18, Issue 5, pp. 3974-3984 (2010)

Acrobat PDF (435 KB)

### Abstract

In this paper, we analyze the performance of an electro-optic modulator based on a single quantum dot strongly coupled to a nano-resonator, where electrical control of the quantum dot frequency is achieved via quantum confined Stark effect. Using realistic system parameters, we show that modulation speeds of a few tens of GHz are achievable with this system, while the energy per switching operation can be as small as 0.5 fJ. In addition, we study the non-linear distortion, and the effect of pure quantum dot dephasing on the performance of the modulator.

© 2010 Optical Society of America

## 1. Introduction

1. Q. Xu, S. Manipatruni, B. Schmidt, J. Shakya, and M. Lipson, “12.5 gbit/s carrierinjection-based silicon micro-ring silicon modulators,” Opt. Express **15**, 430–436 (2007). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

4. J. L. O’Brien, “Optical quantum computing,” Science **318**, 1567–1570 (2007). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

8. D. M. Szymanski, B. D. Jones, M. S. Skolnick, A. M. Fox, D. O’Brien, T. F. Krauss, and J. S. Roberts, “Ultrafast all-optical switching in algaas photonic crystal waveguide interferometers,” Appl. Phys. Lett. **95**(14), 141108–141110 (2009). [CrossRef]

11. A. Faraon, A. Majumdar, H. Kim, P. Petroff, and J. Vuckovic, “Fast electrical control of a quantum dot strongly coupled to a nano-resonator,” Phys. Rev. Lett. **104**, 047402 (2010). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

12. D. Englund, A. Faraon, A. Majumdar, N. Stoltz, P. Petroff, and J. Vuckovic, “An optical modulator based on a single strongly coupled quantum dot - cavity system in a p-i-n junction,” Opt. Express **17**, 18651–18658 (2009). [CrossRef]

13. D. A. B. Miller, “Device requirements for optical interconnects to silicon chips,” Proc. IEEE **97**, 1166–1185 (2009). [CrossRef]

14. D. Englund, A. Faraon, I. Fushman, N. Stoltz, P. Petroff, and J. Vuckovic, “Controlling cavity reflectivity with a single quantum dot,” Nature **450**, 857–861 (2007). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

11. A. Faraon, A. Majumdar, H. Kim, P. Petroff, and J. Vuckovic, “Fast electrical control of a quantum dot strongly coupled to a nano-resonator,” Phys. Rev. Lett. **104**, 047402 (2010). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

## 2. Modulation method and analysis

*σ*= ∣

*g*⟩⟨

*e*∣; where ∣

*g*⟩ and ∣

*e*⟩ are the ground and the excited states of the QD) coupled to a single cavity mode (with annihilation operator a) is given by (

*h̄*= 1) [15]

*ρ*is the density matrix of the coupled cavity/QD system; 2

*γ*and 2

*κ*are the QD spontaneous emission rate and the cavity population decay rate respectively;

*γd*is the pure dephasing rate of the QD;

*σ*= [

_{z}*σ*

^{†},

*σ*]. ℒ[

*D*] is the Lindbald operator corresponding to a collapse operator

*D*. This is used to model the incoherent decays and is given by:

*H*is the Hamiltonian of the system without considering the losses and is given by (in rotating wave approximation, where the frame is rotating with the driving laser frequency)

*ω*=

_{c}*ω*−

_{c}*ω*and Δ

_{l}*ω*=

_{a}*ω*−

_{a}*ω*are respectively the cavity and dot detuning from the driving laser;

_{l}*ω*,

_{c}*ω*and

_{a}*ω*are the cavity resonance, the QD resonance and the driving laser frequency respectively; Ω is the Rabi frequency of the driving laser and is given by

_{l}*μ⃗*·

*E⃗*, where

*μ⃗*is the dipole moment of the transition driven by the laser and

*E⃗*is the electric field of the laser inside the cavity at the position of the QD; and

*g*is the interaction strength of the QD with the cavity.

*Ô*⟩ =

*Tr*(

*Ô*

*) for an operator*ρ ˙

*Ô*and a density matrix

*ρ*in Eq. (1), we find the following Maxwell-Bloch equations (MBEs) for the coupled cavity/QD system (assuming the laser is resonant with the cavity frequency, i.e., Δ

*ω*= 0):

_{c}*γ*+

*γ*+

_{d}*i*Δ

*ω*). In deriving the MBEs, we assume that under low excitation, the system stays mostly in the lowest manifolds (single quantum of energy) and hence ⟨

_{a}*aσ*⟨ ≈ − ⟨

_{z}*a*⟩ and ≈ ⟨

*a*

^{†}

*aσ*⟩ ≈ −⟨

_{z}*a*

^{†}

*a*⟩ [16

16. E. Waks and J. Vuckovic, “Dipole induced transparency in drop filter cavity-waveguide systems,” Phys. Rev. Lett. **96**, 153601 (2006). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

*E*and frequency

*ω*). The system is modulated using an electrical signal which changes the QD resonance frequency via quantum confined Stark effect (QCSE). In our analysis, we assume that the optical signal is always resonant with the bare cavity (

_{l}*ω*=

_{l}*ω*) and only the QD resonance frequency changes. We note that applying electric field across the QD reduces the overlap between the electron and the hole wavefunctions and thus reduces the dipole moment of the QD and the coherent coupling strength

_{c}*g*. However the reduction in

*g*is due to the change in the spatial overlap of the eigen-states of the perturbed Hamiltonian (the Hamiltonian describing the confining potential of the QD), while the change in the QD resonance frequency is due to the modification of eigenvalues of the perturbed Hamiltonian. The perturbation in eigen-states due to QCSE is a higher order effect than the change in eigenvalues. Hence the reduction in

*g*is much less prominent than the change in the QD resonance frequency and we preserve strong coupling even with the applied electric field [11

11. A. Faraon, A. Majumdar, H. Kim, P. Petroff, and J. Vuckovic, “Fast electrical control of a quantum dot strongly coupled to a nano-resonator,” Phys. Rev. Lett. **104**, 047402 (2010). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

*E*is applied. For successful operation of the electro-optic modulator, the applied electric field must be smaller than

_{tun}*E*and in this paper, we assume that this condition is satisfied.

_{tun}*g*>>

*κ*,

*γ*. In this regime, when the quantum dot and the cavity are resonant, the optical system has a split resonance (in contrast to a single Lorentzian), as shown in Fig. 1(a). The detuning of the quantum dot due to the application of an electric field causes dramatic changes in the transmission spectrum of the optical system. This directly affects the transmitted intensity of a laser tuned at the bare cavity resonance [shown by an arrow in Fig. 1(a)]. Figure 1(b) shows the steady-state transmission (normalized by the transmission through an empty cavity) for different values of QD-cavity detuning. This has been derived by solving the MBEs [Eqs. (4), (5)] at steady-state (in absence of pure dephasing, i.e.,

*γ*/2

_{d}*π*= 0), which gives that the ratio of the maximum to the minimum transmission through the cavity is (1+

*g*

^{2}/

*κγ*)

^{2}.

*κ*/2

*π*=

*g*/2

*π*≈ 20 GHz (

*κ*/2

*π*= 20 GHz corresponds to a cavity quality factor of ~ 8000) can be easily achieved [14

14. D. Englund, A. Faraon, I. Fushman, N. Stoltz, P. Petroff, and J. Vuckovic, “Controlling cavity reflectivity with a single quantum dot,” Nature **450**, 857–861 (2007). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

*κ*/2

*π*and

*g*/2

*π*ranging between 10 to 40 GHz.

## 3. Frequency response

*nm*

^{2}), this time scale is extremely short and thus does not limit the modulator speed. The other time scale is due to the optical bandwidth of the system, i.e., the finite band-widths of the cavity spectrum and the dip induced by the strong coupling of the dipole to the cavity. The cavity has a finite bandwidth, which limits how fast the modulator can operate. This optical bandwidth limits the speed of operation of the electro-optical modulator described here. To estimate the bandwidth of modulation, one can consider the cavity transmission spectrum [as shown by the red line in Fig. 1(a)] as the filter response of the modulator; for successful operation, the pulse band-width should not exceed the splitting obtained due to the strong coupling. Following this argument, the bandwidth of the pulse that can be modulated via this electro-optic modulator is approximately

*g*

^{2}/

*κ*.

*ω*

_{0}is the maximum detuning of the QD resonance (this is proportional to the amplitude of the electrical signal applied to tune the QD) and

*ω*is the frequency of the modulating electrical signal and hence also the frequency of the change in the QD resonance. The system performance is determined by analyzing the change in the cavity output (i.e.

_{e}*κ*⟨

*a*(

*t*)

^{†}

*a*(

*t*)⟩) as a function of

*ω*. The on/off ratio is defined as the ratio of the maximum to minimum cavity output during sinusoidal driving. The Rabi frequency Ω of the driving laser is chosen such that the QD is not saturated. The effect of free carriers generation in semiconductor surrounding the QD by two photon absorption of the driving laser is not included in our analysis as at low Ω (that is, at low intensity of the driving laser) this effect is very small. The pure dephasing rate

_{e}*γ*/2

_{d}*π*of the QD is assumed to be 0.1 GHz.

*κ*and

*g*. We observe that the modulator behaves like a second order low pass filter with a roll-off of -20 dB/decade. Figure 3 shows the cut-off frequency and the on-off ratio at low frequency as a function of different

*g*and

*κ*. The cut-off frequency of the filter increases with the coupling strength

*g*. Similarly, reduction in

*κ*increases the cut-off frequency. However when

*κ*<

*g*, the change in cut-off frequency is not significant and g plays the dominant role. At the same time, the on-off ratio decreases with

*g*, which occurs because we kept the maximum detuning Δ

*ω*

_{0}/2

*π*fixed at 5 GHz. By increasing Δ

*ω*

_{0}/2

*π*the on-off ratio can be increased for higher values of

*g*.

## 4. Nonlinear distortion of signal

*ω*

_{0}. For small values of the electrical input (i.e., for small Δ

*ω*

_{0}), the output follows exactly the variation of the QD resonance frequency, as shown in Fig. 4(a). However, distortions appear for higher amplitudes of Δ

*ω*

_{0}[Fig. 4(b)]. Here we observe ripples at a frequency different from the modulating frequency

*ω*. These ripples do not arise only because of the finite bandwidth of the system, but are also due to the nonlinearity of the system with respect to Δ

_{e}*ω*

_{0}. More detailed analysis of these ripples are described below, when we analyze the step response of the modulator. The value of Δ

*ω*

_{0}also affects the visibility of the modulated signal. The on-off ratio (i.e., the desired output) is proportional to the first harmonic of the modulated output signal. Figure 5 shows the ratio of second and third harmonics to the first harmonic of the output signal as a function of Δ

*ω*

_{0}. As expected, the higher order harmonics increase with increase in QD detuning Δ

*ω*

_{0}.

*x*(

*t*) =

*Asin*(

*ωt*). Due to nonlinearity the distorted signal is

*x*(

_{d}*t*) =

*A*

_{1}

*sin*(

*ωt*) +

*A*

_{2}

*sin*

^{2}(

*ωt*) +

*A*

_{3}

*sin*

^{3}(

*ωt*) + ⋯, where

*A*

_{1}

*A*

_{2},

*A*

_{3}are the amplitudes of different harmonics. In differential detection, we apply two out of phase signals and then subtract the modulated optical signals to remove the even order harmonics, which are unaffected by the phase change. Hence the performance of the modulator is primarily determined by the third order harmonics.

## 5. Step response

*ω*

_{0}→ 0); and (2) when the electrical signal goes from off to on (that is the QD detuning goes from 0 → Δ

*ω*

_{0}). For low excitation and small dephasing rate, the average value of cavity output

*κ*∣ ⟨

*a*(

*t*)

^{†}

*a*(

*t*)⟩∣ is approximately given by

*κ*∣⟨

*a*(

*t*)⟩∣

^{2}, where (

*a*(

*t*)) is

*t*= 0 and

*ω*

_{0}. Hence in Fig. 4 we observe ripples only for high values of Δ

*ω*

_{0}.

*ω*

_{0}), the on-off ratio of the modulator increases, but the modulated signal becomes distorted. In fact, when QD-cavity coupling g is large, one needs high Δ

*ω*

_{0}to achieve good on-off ratio (Fig. 3). However, it should be noted that in a system with high g, the amplitude of electrical signal causing distortion is also high. Figure 7 shows the ratio between the third and first harmonic of the modulated signal for different

*g*and Δ

*ω*

_{0}. We observe that for same amplitude of electrical signal (i.e., Δ

*ω*

_{0}), the distortion is larger for a system with smaller

*g*.

## 6. Switching power

13. D. A. B. Miller, “Device requirements for optical interconnects to silicon chips,” Proc. IEEE **97**, 1166–1185 (2009). [CrossRef]

**104**, 047402 (2010). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

*μ*m, the active region of the cavity/QD system has a volume of

*V*~ 1

*μ*m × 1

*μ*m × 200

*nm*. Since the electric field to tune the quantum dot is on the order of

*F*~ 5 × 10

^{4}V/cm, the energy per switching operation is on the order of

*E*=

*ε*

_{0}

*ε*

_{r}*F*

^{2}

*V*/2 ~ 0.5 fJ (

*ε*~ 13). This translates into an operating power of ~ 5

_{r}*μ*W at 10 GHz. The same order of magnitude estimation is obtained by modeling the device as a parallel plate capacitor with width

*w*~ 1

*μm*, thickness

*t*~ 200

*nm*and spacing

*L*~ 1

*μm*and taking into account fringing effects. Since the energy consumption has a quadratic dependence on the applied voltage, the operating power can be lowered significantly by bringing the electrode closer to the quantum dot. In case the active volume could be reduced to the size of the quantum dot itself (~ 25 × 25 × 25

*nm*

^{3}), the switching energy can be lowered below 0.1 aJ. These energy scales are of the same order of magnitude as all other optical switching devices operating at single photon level [14

14. D. Englund, A. Faraon, I. Fushman, N. Stoltz, P. Petroff, and J. Vuckovic, “Controlling cavity reflectivity with a single quantum dot,” Nature **450**, 857–861 (2007). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

17. I. Fushman, D. Englund, A. Faraon, N. Stoltz, P. Petroff, and J. Vuckovic, “Controlled phase shifts with a single quantum dot,” Science **320**, 769–772 (2008). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

18. J. Liu, M. Beals, A. Pomerene, S. Bernardis, R. Sun, J. Cheng, L. C. Kimerling, and J. Michel, “Waveguide-integrated, ultralow-energy gesi electro-absorption modulators,” Nat. Photonics **2**, 433–437 (2008). [CrossRef]

19. Q. Xu, D. Fattal, and R. G. Beausoleil, “Silicon microring resonators with 1.5-um radius,” Opt. Express **16**, 4309–4315 (2008). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

## 7. Effect of dephasing of QD

16. E. Waks and J. Vuckovic, “Dipole induced transparency in drop filter cavity-waveguide systems,” Phys. Rev. Lett. **96**, 153601 (2006). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

*γ*/2

_{d}*π*of the QD. As expected the on-off ratio falls off with increased dephasing rate.

## 8. Conclusion

*κ*/2

*π*=

*g*/2

*π*= 20 GHz) with a control energy of the order of 0.5 fJ. This type of fast and low control energy modulator may constitute an essential building block of future nano-photonic networks.

## Acknowledgement

## References and links

1. | Q. Xu, S. Manipatruni, B. Schmidt, J. Shakya, and M. Lipson, “12.5 gbit/s carrierinjection-based silicon micro-ring silicon modulators,” Opt. Express |

2. | A. Liu, R. Jones, L. Liao, D. Samara-Rubio, D. Rubin, O. Cohen, R. Nicolaescu, and M. Paniccia, “A high-speed silicon optical modulator based on a metal-oxide-semiconductor capacitor,” Nature |

3. | Y. Vlasov, W. M. J. Green, and F. Xia, “High-throughput silicon nanophotonic deflection switch for on-chip optical networks,” Nat. Photonics |

4. | J. L. O’Brien, “Optical quantum computing,” Science |

5. | A. Politi, M. J. Cryan, J. G. Rarity, S. Yu, and J. L. O’Brien, “Silica-on-silicon waveguide quantum circuits,” Science |

6. | D. Englund, A. Faraon, B. Zhang, Y. Yamamoto, and J. Vuckovic, “Generation and transfer of single photons on a photonic crystal chip,” Opt. Express |

7. | A. Faraon, I. Fushman, D. Englund, N. Stoltz, P. Petroff, and J. Vuckovic, “Dipole induced transparency in waveguide coupled photonic crystal cavities,” Opt. Express |

8. | D. M. Szymanski, B. D. Jones, M. S. Skolnick, A. M. Fox, D. O’Brien, T. F. Krauss, and J. S. Roberts, “Ultrafast all-optical switching in algaas photonic crystal waveguide interferometers,” Appl. Phys. Lett. |

9. | C. Husko, A. D. Rossi, S. Combrie, Q. V. Tran, F. Raineri, and C. W. Wong, “Ultrafast all-optical modulation in GaAs photonic crystal cavities,” Appl. Phys. Lett. |

10. | N. Hitoshi, Y. Sugimoto, K. Kanamoto, N. Ikeda, Y. Tanaka, Y. Nakamura, S. Ohkouchi, Y. Watanabe, K. Inoue, H. Ishikawa, and K. Asakawa, “Ultra-fast photonic crystal/quantum dot alloptical switch for future photonic networks,” Opt. Express |

11. | A. Faraon, A. Majumdar, H. Kim, P. Petroff, and J. Vuckovic, “Fast electrical control of a quantum dot strongly coupled to a nano-resonator,” Phys. Rev. Lett. |

12. | D. Englund, A. Faraon, A. Majumdar, N. Stoltz, P. Petroff, and J. Vuckovic, “An optical modulator based on a single strongly coupled quantum dot - cavity system in a p-i-n junction,” Opt. Express |

13. | D. A. B. Miller, “Device requirements for optical interconnects to silicon chips,” Proc. IEEE |

14. | D. Englund, A. Faraon, I. Fushman, N. Stoltz, P. Petroff, and J. Vuckovic, “Controlling cavity reflectivity with a single quantum dot,” Nature |

15. | C. W. Gardiner and P. Zoller, |

16. | E. Waks and J. Vuckovic, “Dipole induced transparency in drop filter cavity-waveguide systems,” Phys. Rev. Lett. |

17. | I. Fushman, D. Englund, A. Faraon, N. Stoltz, P. Petroff, and J. Vuckovic, “Controlled phase shifts with a single quantum dot,” Science |

18. | J. Liu, M. Beals, A. Pomerene, S. Bernardis, R. Sun, J. Cheng, L. C. Kimerling, and J. Michel, “Waveguide-integrated, ultralow-energy gesi electro-absorption modulators,” Nat. Photonics |

19. | Q. Xu, D. Fattal, and R. G. Beausoleil, “Silicon microring resonators with 1.5-um radius,” Opt. Express |

**OCIS Codes**

(350.4238) Other areas of optics : Nanophotonics and photonic crystals

(250.4110) Optoelectronics : Modulators

(250.3750) Optoelectronics : Optical logic devices

(250.5590) Optoelectronics : Quantum-well, -wire and -dot devices

**ToC Category:**

Optoelectronics

**History**

Original Manuscript: November 9, 2009

Revised Manuscript: January 27, 2010

Manuscript Accepted: February 4, 2010

Published: February 16, 2010

**Citation**

, "Theory of electro-optic modulation via a quantum dot coupled to a nano-resonator," Opt. Express **18**, 3974-3984 (2010)

http://www.opticsinfobase.org/oe/abstract.cfm?URI=oe-18-5-3974

## Cited By |

OSA is able to provide readers links to articles that cite this paper by participating in CrossRef's Cited-By Linking service. CrossRef includes content from more than 3000 publishers and societies. In addition to listing OSA journal articles that cite this paper, citing articles from other participating publishers will also be listed.

OSA is a member of CrossRef.