Polarization management is a key functionality in many photonic applications, including optical communications, imaging or quantum information. Developing integrated devices capable of reliably controlling polarization state would result in compact and low cost circuits with improved stability compared with fiber or bulk optics solutions. However, stringent fabrication tolerances make the integration of polarization managing elements highly challenging. The main challenge in polarization controllers, composed by polarization rotators and polarization phase shifters, is to precisely control rotation angle in integrated polarization rotators. Proposed solutions typically require sophisticated fabrication processes or extremely tight fabrication tolerances, seriously hindering their practical application. Here we present a technology independent polarization controller scheme that relies on phase shifters to largely relax fabrication tolerances of polarization rotators. In addition, these phase shifters enable dynamic wavelength tuning. In our scheme, three polarization rotation elements are interconnected with two tunable phase shifters to adjust the polarization extinction ratio, while an output polarization phase shifter is used to select the relative phase. This way we can achieve any desired output state of polarization. We have implemented this scheme in the silicon-on-insulator platform, experimentally demonstrating a record polarization extinction range of 40 dB (± 20 dB) with a 98% coverage of the Poincaré sphere. Furthermore, the device is tunable in the complete C-band. These results constitute, to the best of our knowledge, the highest polarization extinction range achieved in a fully integrated device.
Jose-Dario Sarmiento-Merenguel, Carlos Alonso-Ramos, Robert Halir, Xavier Le Roux, Laurent Vivien, Pavel Cheben, Elena Durán-Valdeiglesias, Iñigo Molina-Fernández, Delphine Marris-Morini, Danxia Xu, Jens H. Schmid, Siegfried Janz, and Alejandro Ortega-Moñux, "Silicon-on-insulator integrated tunable polarization controller (Conference Presentation)," Proc. SPIE 9891, Silicon Photonics and Photonic Integrated Circuits V, 989108 (Presented at SPIE Photonics Europe: April 03, 2016; Published: 27 July 2016); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2229352.5042345723001.
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