The majority of the most successful optical modulators in silicon demonstrated in recent years operate via the plasma dispersion effect and are more specifically based upon free carrier depletion in a silicon rib waveguide. In this work we overview the different types of free carrier depletion type optical modulators in silicon. A summary of some recent example devices for each configuration is then presented together with the performance that they have achieved. Finally an insight into some current research trends involving silicon based optical modulators is provided including integration, operation in the mid-infrared wavelength range and application in short and long haul data transmission links.
Reed, G. T., Mashanovich, G. Z., Gardes, F. Y., Nedeljkovi, M., Hu, Y., Thomson, D. J., Li, K., Wilson, P. R., Chen, S-W., & Hsu, S. S. (2013). Recent breakthroughs in carrier depletion based silicon optical modulators. Nanophotonics, 3(4-5), 229-245. https://doi.org/10.1515/nanoph-2013-0016