Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Optical Engineering


Department of Physics and Optical Engineering

First Advisor

Azad Siahmakoun

Second Advisor

Michael McInerney

Third Advisor

Edward Wheeler


This thesis focuses on the modeling, design, and fabrication of the Thermo-Optic Mach-Zehnder Modulator, which is one of the simple active devices in silicon photonics. The Mach-Zehnder interferometer (MZI) was formed as an optical path on a silicon on insulator (SOI) wafer of 2040±80 nm thick, and the thermo-optic effect was used to modulate the infrared light of 1553 nm wavelength by controlling the temperature of the one arm of the MZI. To fabricate and understand the Si photonic device, the whole process from theory to the measurement setup is introduced. Additionally, all the fabrication details and some informative experiments which were performed during the fabrication are discussed for students who will study the more developed devices. The width of the designed waveguide is 4 μm, but the width of the fabricated waveguide is 3.0±0.2 μm due to the isotropic etching. For the lithography for both patterning waveguides and metal contacts, the AZ 5214 photoresist was used, and the details of the lithography was discussed. Furthermore, the lift-off method was performed and introduced to solve the over-etching problem. The fabricated metal contacts can withstand up to 1.6W, and the electric power 0.3W is required to make Pi phase difference according to the simulation result by the simulation software Lumerical. The optical output of the device was not detected due to the huge losses from the sidewall roughness and the insertion loss, so it is discussed in the experimental measurement chapter.

Included in

Optics Commons