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Embedded Silicon Gratings for High-efficiency Light-Chip Coupling to Thin Film Silicon Nitride Waveguides

TitleEmbedded Silicon Gratings for High-efficiency Light-Chip Coupling to Thin Film Silicon Nitride Waveguides
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2023
AuthorsRawat, P, Nambiar, S, Singh, R, Selvaraja, SKumar, ,
Keywordsthin-film silicon nitride waveguide grating coupler fiber-chip coupler

Thin film silicon nitride (<150 nm) waveguide has emerged as a dominant ultra-low-loss platform for many loss-critical applications. While thin-film silicon nitride propagation loss is a crucial characteristic, coupling light between an optical fiber and the waveguide is still challenging. While the larger mode size of the decoupled thin waveguide offers better coupling than a highly-confined waveguide, the coupling efficiency is still sub-optimal. The poor diffraction efficiency of such thin films limits the scope of implementing standalone surface gratings. We demonstrate an efficient way to couple into thin film silicon nitride waveguides using amorphous silicon strip gratings. The high contrast gratings provide an efficient means to boost the directionality from thin films leading to an enhanced coupling performance. In addition, we incorporate a bottom reflector to further improve the coupling. We present an optimal design for uniform strip gratings with a maximum coupling efficiency of -1.7 dB/coupler. We achieved a maximum coupling efficiency of -0.28 dB/coupler by engineering the scattering strength along the grating through apodization. We experimentally demonstrate the highest coupling efficiency reported yet of -2.22 dB/coupler and -1.84 dB/coupler for uniform and apodized grating couplers in the C-L band, offering $>75 nm$ of 3dB bandwidth. We present a detailed design strategy, simulation, fabrication and characterization data on the effect of various parameters on the coupling.