Fabrication and characterization of optical waveguide components in epitaxial (Pb,La)(Zr,Ti)O3 thin films.
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This report presents a method for fabrication of ridge-type waveguide electro-optic modulators in 500 nm thick, c-oriented, epitaxial, (Pb0.92,La0.08)(Zr0.4,Ti0.6)O3 thin films on a MgO substrate. The method is based on ordinary photolitography and wet etching techniques with lift-off metallisation of gold electrodes. To achieve good input coupling of light the device end faces were polished using diamond lapping film swith grain sizes as small as 0.5 um. Several devices with both Mach-Zehnder electro-optic modulators and phase modulators with co-planar gold electrodes and an interaction length of L = 3 mm were fabricated using this method. These modulators were used to examine the electro-optic efect in the thin films at the wavelength 1.55 um. Coherent, linearly polarised light was coupled into the waveguide end face using tapered fibres while a modulation voltage was applied to the electrodes. The phase modulators were used as intensity modulators by exciting them with light polarised 45 degrees on the optical axis and placing a linear polariser at the output. Practical modulation was achieved using voltages as low as 46 V with the phase modulators and 80 V with the Mach-Zehnder modulators. Using a numerical curve fitting technique, the measured data was fitted to a proposed theoretical model for the modulators. The model was based on Jones matrix formalism and the assumption that the electro-optic effect in the thin films corresponds with the Pockels effect. Good fits were achieved indicating that the effect is indeed a Pockels effect and estimates of the Pockels coecient r51 ranged from 4.4 pm/V to 11 pm/V depending on the device. These values were obtained under the uncertain assumption that the birefringence of (Pb,La)(Zr,Ti)O3 is 0.005. It is found that if the actual value of the birefringence is lower, then r51 will also be lower than estimated. Based on previous works the Pockels coeficient was expected to be on the order or ~102 pm/V. The low measured values of r51 and the variation between films is believed to be due to the thin films being multi domain with a domain structure created by a stochastic process.