Graduation Semester and Year




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Electrical Engineering


Electrical Engineering

First Advisor

Weidong Zhou


Silicon photonics is realized as a promising platform to meet the requirements of higher bandwidth and low cost high density monolithic integration. More recent demonstrations of a variety of stretchable, foldable and transfer printed ultra-thin silicon integrated circuits have instigated the use of flexible silicon nanomembrane for practical applications. Equally impressive innovations are demonstrated in the area of flat screen displays, smart cards, eyeglasses, and wearable displays. However, the overall efficiency of a variety of optical device is limited by poor light management resulting from difficulty of light coupling, small absorption volume in thin-film nanomembrane, and glare at oblique incidence to name a few. The aim of this thesis is to present the work of micro- and nano-scale structures for out-of-plane light coupling and absorption for integrated silicon photonics and high performance solar cells and photodetectors, with maximum absorption in the functional layer and minimal front-surface reflection and minimal rear-surface transmission. Perfect absorption in a variety of semiconductor nanomembranes (NM) and atomic layers of two dimensional (2D) materials over different wavelength spectrum is realized due to the local field intensity enhancement at critical coupling to the guided resonances of a photonic crystal (PC). A judicious choice of grating parameters tailors the power diffracted in the zeorth order and higher order modes making the device work as a broadband reflector, an in-plane coupler or a combination of both reflector and an in-plane coupler. At surface normal incidence, the polarization dependence of the grating based reflector is eliminated by the use of 2D photonic crystals. The incorporation of such a reflector after the functional nanomembrane layer reduces the back-surface transmission. Effect of incident angle, polarization and incident plane misalignment dependence on the reflection of a silicon NM based reflector are investigated in detail. The front-surface Fresnel reflection is reduced with the incorporation of an omni-directional anti-reflection coating (Omni-ARC) based on nanostructures or by deposition of graded refractive index (GRIN) films. A design methodology based on the comparison of the rate of change of the refractive index profile of nanostructures of different shapes and thickness as an equivalent GRIN film suggests the minimum feature size needed to give near perfect ARC. Numerical models were built to account for the non - uniform GRIN film deposition on both rigid and flexible, flat and curved surfaces resulting from the variation in the resonant infrared matrix-assisted pulsed laser evaporation (RIR-MAPLE) process technology. With the miniaturization of the devices, the effect of finite beam size and finite active area of the photonic components on the optical properties like transmission, reflection and scattering loss was studied as well. All the numerical studies presented in the thesis are validated by experimental results.


Electrical and Computer Engineering | Engineering


Degree granted by The University of Texas at Arlington