Low-to-high refractive index contrast transition (RICT) device for low loss polymer-based optical coupling

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We propose for the first time a coupling device concept for passive low-loss optical coupling, which is compatible with the 'generic' indium phosphide (InP) multi-project-wafer manufacturing. A low-to-high vertical refractive index contrast transition InP waveguide is designed and tapered down to adiabatically couple light into a top polymer waveguide. The on-chip embedded polymer waveguide is engineered at the chip facets for offering refractive-index and spot-size-matching to silica fiber-arrays. Numerical analysis shows that coupling losses lower than 1.5 dB can be achieved for a TE-polarized light between the InP waveguide and the on-chip embedded polymer waveguide at 1550 nm wavelength. The performance is mainly limited by the difficulty to control single-mode operation. However, coupling losses lower than 1.9 dB can be achieved for a bandwidth as large as 200 nm. Moreover, the foreseen fabrication process steps are indicated, which are compatible with the 'generic' InP multi-project-wafer manufacturing. A fabrication error tolerance study is performed, indicating that fabrication errors occur only in 0.25 dB worst case excess losses, as long as high precision lithography is used. The obtained results are promising and may open the route to large port counts and cheap packaging of InP-based photonic integrated chips.

Original languageEnglish
Article number044001
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Optics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2018


  • bottom air cladding
  • integrated photonics
  • optical chip coupling


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