National Research Council of Canada. Information and Communication Technologies
A silicon nitride waveguide is a promising platform for integrated photonics, particularly due to its low propagation loss compared to other complementary metal–oxide–semiconductor compatible waveguides, including silicon-on-insulator. Input/output coupling in such thin optical waveguides is a key issue for practical implementations. Fiber-to-chip grating couplers in silicon nitride usually exhibit low coupling efficiency because the moderate index contrast leads to weak radiation strengths and poor directionality. Here, we present the first, to the best of our knowledge, experimental demonstration of a recently proposed apodized-imaging fiber-to-chip grating coupler in silicon nitride that images an in-plane waveguide mode to an optical fiber placed at a specific distance above the chip. By employing amplitude and phase apodization, the diffracted optical field of the grating is matched to the fiber mode. High grating directionality is achieved by using staircase grating teeth, which produce a blazing effect. Experimental results demonstrate an apodized-imaging grating coupler with a record coupling efficiency of −1.5 dB and a 3 dB bandwidth of 60 nm in the C-band.