1 May 2014 Large-scale characterization of silicon nitride-based evanescent couplers at 532nm wavelength
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Abstract
Recently, the photonics community has a renewed attention for silicon nitride.1-3 When deposited at temperatures below 650K with plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD),4 it enables photonic circuits fabricated on-top of standard complementary metaloxidesemiconductor (CMOS) electronics. Silicon nitride is moreover transparent to wavelengths that are visible to the human eye and detectable with available silicon detectors, thus offering a photonics platform for a range of applications that is not accessible with the popular silicon-on-insulator platform. However, first-time-right design of large-scale circuits for demanding specifications requires reliable models of the basic photonic building blocks, like evanescent couplers (Figure 1), components that couple power between multiple waveguides. While these models typically exist for the silicon-on-insulator platform, they still lack maturity for the emerging silicon nitride platform. Therefore, we meticulously studied silicon nitride-based evanescent couplers fabricated in our 200mm-wafer facility. We produced the structures in a silicon nitride film deposited with low-temperature PECVD, and patterned it using optical lithography at a wavelength of 193nm and reactive ion etching. We measured the performance of as much as 250 different designs at 532nm wavelength, a central wavelength in the visible range for which laser sources are widespread. For each design, we measured the progressive transmission of up-to 10 cascaded identical couplers (Figure 2(a)), yielding very accurate figures for the coupling factor (Figure 2(b)). This paper presents the trends extracted from this vast data set (Figure 3), and elaborates on the impact of the couplers bend radius and gap on its coupling factors (Figure 4 and Figure 5). We think that the large- scale characterization of evanescent couplers presented in this paper, in excellent agreement with the simulated performance of the devices, forms the basis for a component library that enables accurate design of silicon nitride-based photonic circuitry.
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Tom Claes, Roelof Jansen, Pieter Neutens, Bert Du Bois, Philippe Helin, Simone Severi, Pol Van Dorpe, Paru Deshpande, Xavier Rottenberg, "Large-scale characterization of silicon nitride-based evanescent couplers at 532nm wavelength", Proc. SPIE 9133, Silicon Photonics and Photonic Integrated Circuits IV, 91331H (1 May 2014); doi: 10.1117/12.2052453; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2052453
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