On-chip Optical Phase Monitoring in Multi-Transverse-Mode Integrated Silicon-based Optical Processors
We design a Multi-Transverse-Mode Optical Processor (MTMOP) on 220 nm thick Silicon Photonics exploiting the first two quasi-transverse electric modes (TE0 and TE1). The objective is to measure the optical phase, required for programming the optical processor, without use of conventional optical phase detection techniques (e.g., coherent detection). In the proposed design, we use a novel but simple building block that converts the optical phase to optical power. Mode TE0 carries the main optical signal while mode TE1 is for programming purposes. The MTMOP operation relies on the fact that the group velocity of TE0 and TE1 propagating through a mode-sensitive phase shifter are different. An unbalanced Mach-Zehnder interferometer (MZI) consists of a mode-sensitive and mode-insensitive phase shifters in the two arms. We set the bias of the phase shifters so that TE0 propagating in the two arms constructively interfere while this will not be the case for TE1. Hence, we detect the phase shift applied to TE0 by measuring the variation in the optical power of TE1. To the best of our knowledge, this design is the first attempt towards realizing a programmable optical processor with fully integrated programming unit exploiting multimode silicon photonics.