Erbium-doped spiral amplifiers with 20 dB gain on a silicon chip

Sergio Andrés Vázquez-Córdova, Edward Bernhardi, Kerstin Worhoff, Sonia Maria García Blanco, Markus Pollnau

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


We report the fabrication and optical characterization of long, spiral-shaped erbium-doped aluminum oxide (Al2O3:Er3+) channel waveguides for achieving high overall signal amplification on a small footprint. Al2O3:Er3+ films with Er3+ concentrations in the range between 0.443.1×10^20 cm^-3 were deposited by reactive co-sputtering onto standard, thermally oxidized silicon substrates. Spiral-shaped waveguides were designed and structured into the films by chlorine-based reactive ion etching. In the current design, each spiral waveguide occupies an area of 1 cm^2. Typical background propagation losses near 1500 nm are (0.2±0.1) dB/cm. A commercially available, pigtailed diode laser at 976 nm was employed as the pump source. The erbium-doped waveguide amplifiers were characterized in the small-signal-gain regime at the peak-gain wavelength (λ = 1532 nm) of Al2O3:Er3+. A maximum of 20 dB of internal net gain was measured for a 24.5-cm-long spiral waveguide with an Er3+ concentration of 0.95×10^20 cm^-3. Similar results were obtained for a shorter spiral with an Er3+ concentration about twice as high. Samples with lower concentration exhibited lower gain because of insufficient pump absorption, while samples with higher concentration showed less gain because of migration-accelerated energy transfer up-conversion and, more importantly, a fast quenching process.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPhotonics Europe
EditorsLaurent Vivien, Seppo Honkanen, Lorenzo Pavesi, Stefano Pelli, Jung Hun Shin
Place of PublicationBellingham, WA
PagesPaper 913308
Number of pages6
ISBN (Print)978-1-62841-081-5
Publication statusPublished - May 2014

Publication series

NameProceedings of the SPIE
ISSN (Print)0277-786X


  • EWI-24710
  • IR-90655
  • METIS-304093
  • IOMS-APD: Active Photonic Devices

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    Vázquez-Córdova, S. A., Bernhardi, E., Worhoff, K., García Blanco, S. M., & Pollnau, M. (2014). Erbium-doped spiral amplifiers with 20 dB gain on a silicon chip. In L. Vivien, S. Honkanen, L. Pavesi, S. Pelli, & J. H. Shin (Eds.), Photonics Europe (pp. Paper 913308). (Proceedings of the SPIE; Vol. 9133, No. 913308). Bellingham, WA: SPIE.