The slot-waveguide was born in 2003 as an unexpected outcome of theoretical studies on metal-oxide-semiconductor (MOS) electro-optic modulation in high-confinement silicon photonic waveguides by Vilson Rosa de Almeida and Carlos Angulo Barrios, then a Ph.D. student and a Postdoctoral Associate, respectively, at Cornell University. Theoretical analysis and experimental demonstration of the first slot-waveguide implemented in the Si/SiO2 material system at 1.55 μm operation wavelength were reported by Cornell researchers in 2004.
Since these pioneering works, several guided-wave configurations based on the slot-waveguide concept have been proposed and demonstrated. Relevant examples are the following:
In 2005, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology proposed to use multiple slot regions in the same guided-wave structure (multi-slot waveguide) in order to increase the optical field in the low-refractive-index regions. The experimental demonstration of such multiple slot waveguide in a horizontal configuration was first published in 2007.
In 2006, the slot-waveguide approach was extended to the terahertz frequency band by researchers at RWTH Aachen University. Researchers at the California Institute of Technology also demonstrated that a slot waveguide, in combination with nonlinear electrooptic polymers, could be used to build ring modulators with exceptionally high tunability. Later this same principle enabled Baehr-Jones et al. to demonstrate a mach-zehnder modulator with an exceptionally low drive voltage of 0.25 V
In 2007, a non-planar implementation of the slot-waveguide principle of operation was demonstrated by researchers at the University of Bath. They showed concentration of optical energy within a subwavelength-scale air hole running down the length of a photonic-crystal fiber.
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