Rib-loaded silica waveguides containing Si nanocrystals were grown by quadruple implantation of Si ions into a 2 gm-thick thermally-grown SiO2 layer. The thickness of the resulting flat-profile active region was about 300 nm, with a 9.5% Si excess (determined by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy). Complete phase separation and nanocrystal formation was assured by annealing at 1100 degrees C, and studied by means of optical tools such as Raman and luminescence. The rib-loaded structure of the waveguides was fabricated by photolithographic and reactive ion etching processes, with patterned rib widths ranging from I to 8 mu m, Efficient light propagation was observed when end-fire coupling a probe signal both at 633 nm and 780 nm into the waveguides, with attenuation losses as low as I I dB/cm. Signal amplification experiments, with pulsed and continuous wave (CW) top pumping, have shown increased signal absorption when the pump power is raised. This couples with the lack of any fast component in the time decay of the amplified spontaneous emissions as measured by ns pulsed pumping Variable Stripe Length (VSL) experiments. These two phenomena are interpreted as due to the lack of stimulated emission in these nanocrystalline systems.
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