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Optical Engineering

Vertically tapered polymer waveguide mode size transformer for improved fiber coupling
Author(s): Antao Chen; Vadim Chuyanov; Felix Ignacio Marti-Carrera; Sean M. Garner; William H. Steier; Jinghong Chen; Sam-Shajing Sun; Larry Raymond Dalton
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Paper Abstract

We describe a novel vertical taper structure fabricated at the ends of polymer optical waveguide devices to improve the coupling between channel waveguides and single mode fibers. The taper smoothly converts a highly elliptical waveguide mode into a large and more circular mode for low loss coupling and relaxed fiber alignment tolerances. A vertical taper 0.5 to 2 mm in length is made in the upper cladding to reduce its thickness from a few micrometers to zero. The taper is subsequently covered by an upper cladding. The new upper cladding has an index higher than that of the previous upper cladding but slightly lower than that of waveguide core. In the taper, the channel waveguide mode gradually loses confinement by the upper cladding so that the mode size grows larger as light propagates toward the end of the device, whereas the confinement by the lower cladding and the lateral confinement are not significantly affected. The waveguide mode grows upward away from the lossy ground electrode and substrate commonly found in many polymer devices; therefore, no trade-off between mode size and propagation loss is involved. Two special but simple reactive ion etching techniques, shadow masked etching and etching with a tapered photoresist mask, are developed to make the vertical taper. Mode expansion and a 1.8 dB reduction in coupling loss per tapered end are demonstrated experimentally. The performance of the mode size transformer is found to be insensitive to both waveguide width and polarization.

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 June 2000
PDF: 10 pages
Opt. Eng. 39(6) doi: 10.1117/1.602523
Published in: Optical Engineering Volume 39, Issue 6
Show Author Affiliations
Antao Chen, Lucent Technologies (United States)
Vadim Chuyanov, Univ. of Southern California (United States)
Felix Ignacio Marti-Carrera, Univ. of Southern California (United States)
Sean M. Garner, Corning Inc. (United States)
William H. Steier, Univ. of Southern California (United States)
Jinghong Chen, Univ. of Southern California (United States)
Sam-Shajing Sun, Norfolk State Univ. (United States)
Larry Raymond Dalton, Univ. of Washington (United States)

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