All-optical analog-to-digital converters based on the third-order nonlinear effects in silicon waveguide are a promising candidate to overcome the limitation of electronic devices and are suitable for photonic integration. In this paper, a 2-bit optical spectral quantization scheme for on-chip all-optical analog-to-digital conversion is proposed. The proposed scheme is realized by filtering the broadened and split spectrum induced by the self-phase modulation effect in a silicon horizontal slot waveguide filled with silicon-nanocrystal. Nonlinear coefficient as high as 8708 W-1/m is obtained because of the tight mode confinement of the horizontal slot waveguide and the high nonlinear refractive index of the silicon-nanocrystal, which provides the enhanced nonlinear interaction and accordingly low power threshold. The results show that a required input peak power level less than 0.4 W can be achieved, along with the 1.98-bit effective-number-of-bit and Gray code output. The proposed scheme can find important applications in on-chip all-optical digital signal processing systems.
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