MEMS laser with tunable wavelength and polarization using optical tunneling effect

W. M. Zhu, Xuming Zhang, H. Cai, J. Tamil, W. Zhang, B. Liu, T. Bourouina, A. Q. Liu

Research output: Journal article publicationConference articleAcademic researchpeer-review


This paper presents a micromachined tunable laser that utilizes a silicon optical tunneling structure to tune both the polarization state and the wavelength of the laser output. The device is fabricated on silicon-on-insulator wafer using deep reactive ion etching. In experiment, the wavelength and the polarization are tuned by heating up the silicon optical tunneling structure via the thermo-optic effect. A 90° change of polarization direction is obtained using a heating current of 61.2 mA, and a wavelength tuning of 2 nm is also demonstrated. The output spectrum shows a high suppress ratio above 30 dB. Compared with the previous MEMS tunable lasers that have a random or fixed polarization state, this device provides a special capability in tuning the polarization state in addition to the wavelength, and would find niche applications in biomedical research, interferometry, coherent communications, instrumentations and sensors.
Original languageEnglish
Article number4805549
Pages (from-to)979-982
Number of pages4
JournalProceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS)
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2009
Externally publishedYes
Event22nd IEEE International Conference on Micro Electro Mechanical Systems, MEMS 2009 - Sorrento, Italy
Duration: 25 Jan 200929 Jan 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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