Silicon-on-sapphire devices are attractive for the mid-infrared optical applications up to 5 microns due to the low loss of both silicon and sapphire in this wavelength band. Designing efficient couplers for silicon-on-sapphire devices presents a challenge due to a highly confined mode in silicon and large values of refractive index of both silicon and sapphire. Here, we present design, fabrication, and measurements of a mode-converting coupler for silicon-on-sapphire waveguides. We utilize a mode converter layout that consists of a large waveguide that is overlays a silicon inverse tapered waveguide. While this geometry was previously utilized for silicon-on-oxide devices, the novelty is in using materials that are compatible with the silicon-on-sapphire platform. In the current coupler the overlaying waveguide is made of silicon nitride. Silicon nitride is the material of choice because of the large index of refraction and low absorption from near-infrared to mid-infrared. The couplers were fabricated using a 0.25 micron silicon-on-sapphire process. The measured coupling loss from tapered lensed silica fibers to the silicon was 4.8dB/coupler. We will describe some challenges in fabrication process and discuss ways to overcome them.
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S. Zlatanovic ; B. W. Offord ; M. Owen ; R. Shimabukuro and E. W. Jacobs
Mode-converting coupler for silicon-on-sapphire devices
", Proc. SPIE 9367, Silicon Photonics X, 93670W (February 27, 2015); doi:10.1117/12.2079671; http://dx.doi.org/10.1117/12.2079671