National Research Council of Canada. Information and Communication Technologies
Multimode interference couplers are a fundamental building block in many integrated photonic systems, ranging from high-speed coherent receivers to quantum splitters. However, their basic structure has remained fundamentally unchanged for almost four decades, limiting their size and operation bandwidth. Using sub-wavelength metamaterials, photonic devices with break-through size and performance have been recently reported. Leveraging the inherent anisotropy of these structures, here we derive a semi-analytic expression that enables the design of compact and ultra broadband multimode interference couplers. We experimentally demonstrate virtually perfect operation over a bandwidth in excess of 300nm (500nm in simulation), for a device three times shorter than its conventional counterpart, making this the most broadband multimode interference coupler reported to date. These results will enable ultra broadband integrated systems for applications in communications and sensing.