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Low-loss SiO2-Ta2O5 thin film optical waveguides with a wide range of refractive-index controllability

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Low-loss optical waveguides made of mixed thin films of SiO2–Ta2O5 have successfully been fabricated by the rf magnetron sputtering method on thermally oxidized silicon substrate. The film exhibits wide controllability of refractive index by changing the composition ratio of SiO2 and Ta2O5, which is attained by controlling the input rf power into each SiO2 and Ta2O5 target during cosputtering. Thermal annealing is applied to the films after deposition. This process gives a remarkable decrease in propagation loss. Experimental results show that the refractive index is controlled in the wide range between 1.46 and 2.12 measured at 0.633-μm wavelength. This is linearly proportional to the mixture ratio of the two target materials. Propagation losses as low as 0.2–0.3 dB/cm at wavelengths of 0.633, 1.30, and 1.55 μm, are obtained by annealing the films at 400°C. Three-dimensional waveguides have been fabricated by a RIBE technique. Well-confined single-mode wave propagation is observed for the waveguide consisting of a rectangular core SiO2–Ta2O5 guide surrounded by an SiO2 cladding layer. The use of 3-D waveguides in a directional coupler is discussed.

© 1988 Optical Society of America

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