A Novel Optical Coupler for Nanophotonics

Lead Research Organisation: University of Surrey
Department Name: ATI Physics


During a previous EPSRC grant we developed a novel means of coupling light from an optical fibre to a very small semiconductor waveguides, of the order on 250nm in height, resulting in numerous publications and a patent. The predicted theoretical efficiency for the best device design was in excess of 90%, but when fabricated at the Southampton Microelectronics facility, the dimensions produced were incorrect due to an equipment failure, reducing the efficiency to a theoretical value of ~60%. Measured efficiency of this device was 55%, which is clearly very encouraging. Southampton University have agreed to provide devices of the correct dimensions that now need to be characterised in terms of coupling efficiency, polarisation and thermal performance. This one year project will characterise the devices, and will potentially demonstrate the highest coupling efficiency in the world into such a small device. This potentially world leading result will have immediate impact as this is a topical subject of research at present, particularly for novel applications such as optical interconnect.


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G Mashanovich (2007) Directional coupling to small silicon photonic waveguides in Journal of Optics A: Pure and Applied Optics

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G Reed (2006) Silicon photonics: are small devices always better in Jap. J. Appl. Phys.

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Reed G (2006) Issues Associated With Polarization Independence in Silicon Photonics in IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Quantum Electronics

Description A novel device design was developed and an associated patent was filed. AT the time this was regarded as an excellent step forward in the technology. Subsequent variation on the them were published by others
Exploitation Route Led to improved knowledge that has supported future grants. An improved variant of this type of device in now being used in a 2014 Programme grant
Sectors Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software)

Title Optical Coupler 
IP Reference US7221825 
Protection Patent granted
Year Protection Granted
Licensed No