Optical modulators formed in silicon are the keystone to many low cost optical applications. Increasing the data rate of the modulator benefits the efficiency of channel usage and decreases power consumption per bit of data. Silicon-based modulators which operate via carrier depletion have to the present been demonstrated at data rates up to 40 Gb/s; however, here we present for the first time optical modulation at 50 Gb/s with a 3.1-dB extinction ratio obtained from carrier depletion based phase shifter incorporated in a Mach–Zehnder interferometer. A corresponding optical insertion loss of approximately 7.4 dB is measured.
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