An integrated cryogenic optical modulator

Felix Eltes, Gerardo Villarreal Garcia, Daniele Caimi, Heinz Siegwart, Antonio Andreas Gentile, Andy Hart, Pascal Stark, Graham Marshall, Mark Thompson, Jorge Barreto, Jean Fompeyrine, Stefan Abel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)


Integrated electrical and photonic circuits (PIC) operating at cryogenic temperatures are fundamental building blocks required to achieve scalable quantum computing, and cryogenic computing technologies. Optical interconnects offer better performance and thermal insulation than electrical wires and are imperative for true quantum communication. Silicon PICs have matured for room temperature applications but their cryogenic performance is limited by the absence of efficient low temperature electro-optic (EO) modulation. While detectors and lasers perform better at low temperature, cryogenic optical switching remains an unsolved challenge. Here we demonstrate EO switching and modulation from room temperature down to 4 K by using the Pockels effect in integrated barium titanate (BaTiO3)-based devices. We report the nonlinear optical (NLO) properties of BaTiO3 in a temperature range which has previously not been explored, showing an effective Pockels coefficient of 200 pm/V at 4 K. We demonstrate the largest EO bandwidth (30 GHz) of any cryogenic switch to date, ultra-low-power tuning which is 10^9 times more efficient than thermal tuning, and high-speed data modulation at 20 Gbps. Our results demonstrate a missing component for cryogenic PICs. It removes major roadblocks for the realisation of novel cryogenic-compatible systems in the field of quantum computing and supercomputing, and for interfacing those systems with the real world at room-temperature.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 24 Apr 2019

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