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Highly efficient optical antenna with small beam divergence in silicon waveguides

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Abstract

Optical antennas are key components in optical phased arrays for light detection and ranging technology requiring long sensing range and high scanning resolution. To achieve a narrow beam width in the far-field region, antenna lengths of several millimeters or more are required. To date, such long antennas have been impossible to achieve in silicon waveguides because currently demonstrated technologies do not allow accurate control of grating strength. Here, we report on a new type of surface-emitting silicon waveguide with a dramatically increased antenna length of $L = {3.65}\;{\rm mm}$. This is achieved by using a subwavelength metamaterial waveguide core evanescently coupled with radiative segments laterally separated from the core. This results in a far-field diffracted beam width of 0.025°, which is a record small beam divergence for a silicon photonics surface-emitting device. We also demonstrate that by using a design with $L$-shaped surface-emitting segments, the radiation efficiency of the antenna can be substantially increased compared to a conventional design, with an efficiency of 72% at the wavelength of 1550 nm.

© 2020 Optical Society of America

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