Summary: Silicon RF MEMS Based Optical Modulator
Suresh Sridaran and Sunil A. Bhave
OxideMEMS Laboratory, School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853
Abstract: This paper reports on the co-fabrication of photonic whispering gallery mode disk
resonators and RF MEMS radial contour mode resonators on the same SOI substrate. By
mechanically coupling the MEMS and photonic resonators, we have demonstrated a silicon RF
MEMS based optical modulator which can modulate light with wavelength 1560 nm at 288 MHz.
©2010 Optical Society of America
OCIS codes: (230.4685) Optical microelectromechanical devices, (070.1060) Acousto-optical signal processing,
Commercial off-the-shelf acousto-optic modulators work by launching a traveling acoustic wave with an inter-
digitated transducer (IDT) into a non-linear medium thereby creating a modulated refractive index in the medium .
To shrink the acousto-optic modulator to chip-scale, structures to convert acoustic phase modulation into intensity
modulation like the Mach-Zehnder interferometer  or photonic microcavities [3,4] have been demonstrated. In
this paper, we propose a scheme of modulation using MEMS disk resonators for exciting mechanical motion and to
use the mechanical motion to modify the intensity transmission characteristics of a photonic disk resonator.
As significant mechanical motion in the disk is only excited when the electrical drive is at the resonant
frequency, our modulator is narrowband. A particular application for the MEMS based modulator is in the