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Experimental characterization of an ultra-broadband dual-mode symmetric Y-junction based on metamaterial waveguides

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posted on 2023-01-12, 16:17 authored by Raquel Fernández de Cabo, Jaime Vilas, Pavel Cheben, Aitor V. Velasco, David González-Andrade
Silicon photonic integrated circuits routinely require 3-dB optical power dividers with minimal losses, small footprints, ultra-wide bandwidths, and relaxed manufacturing tolerances to distribute light across the chip and as a key building block to form more complex devices. Symmetric Y-junctions stand out among other power splitting devices owing to their wavelength-independent response and a straightforward design. Yet, the limited resolution of current fabrication methods results in a minimum feature size (MFS) at the tip between the two Y-junction arms that leads to significant losses for the fundamental mode. Here we propose to circumvent this limitation by leveraging subwavelength metamaterials in a new type of ultra-broadband and fabrication-tolerant Y-junction. An exhaustive experimental study over a 260 nm bandwidth (1420-1680 nm) shows excess loss below 0.3 dB for the fundamental transverse-electric mode (TE0) for a high-resolution lithographic process (MFS about 50 nm) and less than 0.5 dB for a fabrication resolution of 100 nm. Subwavelength Y-junctions with deterministically induced errors of plus-minus 10 nm further demonstrated robust fabrication tolerances. Moreover, the splitter exhibits excess loss lower than 1 dB for the first-order transverse-electric mode (TE1) within a 100 nm bandwidth (1475-1575 nm), using high-resolution lithography.



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