Silicon nanomembrane for high performance conformal photonic devices



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Inorganic material based electronics and photonics on unconventional substrates have shown tremendous unprecedented applications, especially in areas that traditional wafer based electronics and photonics are unable to cover. These areas range from flexible and conformal consumer products to biocompatible medical devices. This thesis presents the research on single crystal silicon nanomembrane photonics on different substrates, especially flexible substrates. A transfer method has been developed to transfer silicon nanomembrane defect-freely onto glass and flexible polyimide substrates. Using this method, intricate single crystal silicon nanomembrane device, such as photonic crystal microcavity, has been transferred onto flexible substrates. To test the device, subwavelength grating couplers are designed and implemented to couple light in and out of the transferred waveguides with high coupling efficiency. The cavity shows a quality factor ~ 9000 with water cladding and ~30000 with glycerol cladding, which is comparable to the same cavity demonstrated on silicon-on-insulator platform, indicating the high quality of the transferred silicon nanomembrane. The device could be bended to a radius less than 15 mm. The experiments show that the resonant wavelength shifts to longer wavelength under tensile stress, while it shifts to shorter wavelength under compressive stress. The sensitivity of the cavity is ~70 nm/RIU, which is independent of bending radius. This demonstration opens vast possibilities for a whole new range of high performance, light-weight and conformal silicon photonic devices. The techniques and devices (e.g. wafer bonding, stamp printing, subwavelength grating couplers, and modulator) generated in the research can also be beneficial for other research fields.