EO-Silicon – Inducing the electrooptic effect in silicon
Because of the symmetrical crystal structure there is no electro-optical effect in silicon. That means that in silicon the refractive index is not dependent on the applied electric field strength. The manufacturing of electro-optical components in silicon technology was therefore not possible in a cost-effective way.
A surprisingly simple and inexpensive method has now been found using chemical treatment of the silicon surface with bromine. Hereby silicon can be converted into an electro-optically active material. The induced electro-optical activity has a high thermal stability, which can even be increased by appropriate passivation layers.
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