Silicon photonics can be defined as the utilization of silicon-based materials for the generation (electrical-to-optical conversion), guidance, control, and detection (optical-to-electrical conversion) of light to communicate information over distance. The most advanced extension of this concept is to have a comprehensive set of optical and electronic functions available to the designer as monolithically integrated building blocks upon a single silicon substrate.
We introduce our approach to opto-electronic integration, silicon photonics, and outline the key functions required for an opto-electronic integration platform: generation, control, and detection of light. Recent research results for silicon-based optical components are discussed including a tunable external cavity laser, a 2.5 GHz optical modulator and a silicon-germanium waveguide-based photo detector. Lastly, optical packaging challenges and potential next-generation designs are presented.