Sol-gels are an important material class, as they provide easy modification of material properties, good processability and are easy to synthesize. In general, an electro-optic (EO) modulator transforms an electrical signal into an optical signal. The incoming electrical signal is most commonly information encoded in a voltage change. This voltage change is then transformed into either a phase change or an intensity change in the light signal. The less voltage needed to drive the modulator and the lower the optical loss, the higher the link gain and, therefore, the better the performance of the modulator. In this review, we will show how sol-gels can be used to enhance the performance of electro-optic modulators by allowing for designs with low optical loss, increased poling efficiency and manipulation of the electric field used for driving the modulator. The optical loss is influenced by the propagation loss in the device, as well as the losses occurring during fiber coupling in and out of the device. In both cases, the use of sol-gel materials can be beneficial due to the wide range of available refractive indices and low optical attenuation. The influence of material properties and synthesis conditions on the device performance will be discussed.
- EO polymers
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Analytical Chemistry
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering