Low-voltage organic electro-optic modulators using transparent conducting oxides as electrodes

Guoyang Xu*, Jing Ma, Zhifu Liu, Boyang Liu, Seng Tiong Ho, Peiwang Zhu, Lian Wang, Yu Yang, Tobin J. Marks, Jingdong Luo, Neil Tucker, Alex K.Y. Jen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


In this paper, we present a novel device structure for organic electro-optic modulators using transparent conducting oxides (TCOs) as electrodes to substantially reduce the switching voltage, and describe their fabrication. We report two different types of device geometry, a top conducting and a side conducting geometry, and discuss their strengths and weaknesses. We discuss how the voltage and speed performance of such modulators are dependant on the conductivity/optical loss ratio of the TCO electrodes. Our device simulation shows that by appropriately engineering the high TCO conductivity/optical loss ratio, 4-6x lower switching voltage can be achieved while still maintaining high modulation frequencies and low optical loss. We show that certain new TCO materials are capable of achieving the high conductivity/optical loss required for efficient modulation in the 1300-1550 nm wavelength range. We summarize the optical loss characteristics at 1300 nm of different types of thin-film TCO materials grown using different deposition techniques. TCO electrodes based on different types of materials, such as In2O3, ZnO, and ITO have been investigated for our device structures. Fabrication issues associated with the deposition of TCO electrodes directly on organic EO materials and our approach to addressing them are discussed. Initial results for organic EO modulators fabricated with TCOs as electrodes are presented, and the performance of these modulators are compared with theoretical modeling results. The new device structures presented here will enable next generation low-voltage organic EO modulators targeting RF photonics applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number59350Y
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
StatePublished - 2005
EventLinear and Nonlinear Optics of Organic Materials V - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: Aug 2 2005Aug 4 2005


  • EO modulator
  • Electro-optic (EO) material
  • Poled polymer
  • Transparent Conducting Oxide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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