On-chip optical isolation in monolithically integrated non-reciprocal optical resonators
Nature Photonics 5, 758–762 (2011) doi:10.1038/nphoton.2011.270

Non-reciprocal photonic devices, including optical isolators and circulators, are indispensible components in optical communication systems. However, the integration of such devices on semiconductor platforms has been challenging because of material incompatibilities between semiconductors and magneto-optical materials that necessitate wafer bonding, and because of the large footprint of isolator designs. Here, we report the first monolithically integrated magneto-optical isolator on silicon. Using a non-reciprocal optical resonator on an silicon-on-insulator substrate, we demonstrate unidirectional optical transmission with an isolation ratio up to 19.5 dB near the 1,550 nm telecommunication wavelength in a homogeneous external magnetic field. Our device has a small footprint that is 290 µm in length, significantly smaller than a conventional integrated optical isolator on a single crystal garnet substrate. This monolithically integrated non-reciprocal optical resonator may serve as a fundamental building block in a variety of ultracompact silicon photonic devices including optical isolators and circulators, enabling future low-cost, large-scale integration.