Millimeter-wave generation using hybrid silicon photonics

Iterio Degli-Eredi*, Pengli An, Jacob Drasbaek, Hakimeh Mohammadhosseini, Lars Nielsen, Peter Tonning, Simon Rommel, Idelfonso Tafur Monroy, Martijn J.R. Heck

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReviewpeer-review


Technological innovation with millimeter waves (mm waves), signals having carrier frequencies between 30 and 300 GHz, has become an increasingly important research field. While it is challenging to generate and distribute these high frequency signals using all-electronic means, photonic techniques that transfer the signals to the optical domain for processing can alleviate several of the issues that plague electronic components. By realizing optical signal processing in a photonic integrated circuit (PIC), one can considerably improve the performance, footprint, cost, weight, and energy efficiency of photonics-based mm-wave technologies. In this article, we detail the applications that rely on mm-wave generation and review the requirements for photonics-based technologies to achieve this functionality. We give an overview of the different PIC platforms, with a particular focus on hybrid silicon photonics, and detail how the performance of two key components in the generation of mm waves, photodetectors and modulators, can be optimized in these platforms. Finally, we discuss the potential of hybrid silicon photonics for extending mm-wave generation towards the THz domain and provide an outlook on whether these mm-wave applications will be a new milestone in the evolution of hybrid silicon photonics.

Original languageEnglish
Article number043001
JournalJournal of Optics (United Kingdom)
Issue number4
Number of pages38
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 IOP Publishing Ltd.


  • Hybrid silicon photonics
  • Microwave photonics
  • Millimeter-wave photonics
  • Photonic integrated circuits
  • Silicon photonics

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