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  • Print publication year: 2015
  • Online publication date: April 2015



The academic literature on silicon photonics is sufficiently rich that one might legitimately ask whether another book in this field is needed. Certainly all of the basic physics of waveguides, modulators, lasers, and photodetectors is covered in great detail in a series of landmark texts, from Yariv and Yeh [1] to Sze and Ng [2] to Siegman [3] and Snyder and Love [4]. More specifically integrated photonics theory is covered comprehensively in texts by Hunsberger [5], Coldren et al. [6], Kaminow et al. [7], etc. Several excellent volumes have come out in recent years describing the state of the field in silicon photonics, and discussing design considerations for a variety of devices [8–15].

So what are we aiming to add to this body of literature? Our aim is not to replicate any of the existing texts' approach, but instead to provide a practical, examples-driven introduction to the practice of designing practical devices and systems. Our (admittedly ambitious) goal for this text is to do something similar to what Mead and Conway did with their landmark text on VLSI [16]: to treat the minimal possible level of device physics, and to focus primarily on the practical design considerations associated with using state-of-the-art silicon photonic foundry processes to build real, useful systems-on-chip.

In order to do this, we focus on a series of tutorials, using the tools that are in use in our own labs. That doesn't mean that these tools are perfect, or that they are necessarily the best tools for any given application: they are just what we have used. Wherever there are alternative approaches, we highlight them and provide some context for why we choose to do things in a certain way. This is obviously an area where errors of omission are very easy to make: we welcome feedback and input.

The vendors of the commercial software we use provide in-kind access for educational institutions. For example, Lumerical Solutions software is available via the Commitment to University Education (CUE) program [17], which provides access to students in undergraduate and graduate classes.