Towards Maximum Energy Efficiency of Carrier-Injection-Based Silicon Photonics

Clemens J. Kruckel*, Hanna Becker, Yoojin Ban, Martijn J.R. Heck, Joris Van Campenhout, Dries Van Thourhout

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review


We present carrier-injection-based photonic switches, engineered for optical pulse distribution with maximum energy efficiency. We apply small-signal analysis and for the first time large-signal modelling to methodically optimize the switches for minimum energy consumption and to classify the electronic contributions from resistance, capacitance, and diode. We present optimized electronic switch activation, which yields a sixfold reduction in energy consumption and we show how static power consumption becomes a negligible factor for optical pulse switching. We demonstrate that with adjusted phase shifter dimensions, MZI-based switches can operate with additional 50% enhanced energy efficiency with down to 4 pJ per switching operation. We show even further efficiency improvement using ring-based designs, allowing an additional improvement of 50% in energy efficiency and we discuss the trade-off between efficiency and optical bandwidth associated to the Q-factor. We benchmark carrier-injection-based switches together with comparable technologies of the silicon photonics platform and identify carrier-injection to be the most suitable technology for pulse switching applications.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Lightwave Technology
Pages (from-to)2931-2940
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - May 2021


  • Electrooptic modulation
  • equivalent circuits
  • integrated optics
  • optical switches
  • phase modulation
  • silicon on insulator technology


Dive into the research topics of 'Towards Maximum Energy Efficiency of Carrier-Injection-Based Silicon Photonics'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this