In this work we present a grating constructed from a field of sub-wavelength scatterers, rather than full grating lines. By tuning the position and the density of the scatterers, the phase and the intensity of the out-coupled light can be set precisely over large grating areas. An iterative design algorithm is developed that carefully tunes the density so as to control the light intensity in the waveguide and the amount of out-coupled light. Using FDTD simulations we show that these gratings can efficiently couple out light into a nearly diffraction limited spot with an even angular intensity. We verify this experimentally by fabricating these gratings in the SiN/SiO2 system using e-beam lithography. In addition, we also show that these gratings can couple out more complex holographic patterns.
These density controlled out-coupling gratings let us efficiently address the near-field on optical chips, making them ideal waveguide components for on-chip optical trapping, holographic imaging or fluorescent excitation.