We present recent advances in the development of a waveguide microspectrometer chip with high spectral resolution in the near-infrared part of the spectrum. The microspectrometer is designed for a high index contrast silicon-on-insulator (SOI) platform, where high number of spectral channels can be obtained with high spectral resolution in a compact device. We present a 100-channel SOI microspectrometer with designed spectral resolution of ~0.08 nm at 1.5 μm wavelength and about 8x8 mm2 in size. A number of critical design issues are discussed, including design of deep-etched tapers near the Rowland circle required for high-resolution performance as well as coupling between closely spaced waveguides. Device fabrication process is discussed in detail, including two-step e-beam patterning and two-level ICP etches, the focus being on achieving deep and smooth vertical etches in silicon with controllable sub-micron waveguide widths and gaps. The potentially available spectral range of the microspectrometer is limited by the transparency of silicon, extending from the band edge of Si at 1.107 μm to the onset of lattice phonon absorption band near 5 μm. Such compact high-resolution multi-channel integrated microspectrometers are promising for a variety of applications, including spectroscopy, telecommunications, optical interconnects, environmental and bio-sensing.© (2005) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.