Design of a suspended germanium micro-antenna for efficient fiber-chip coupling in the long-wavelength mid-infrared range
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Recent developments of photonic integrated circuits for the mid-infrared band has opened up a new field of attractive applications for group IV photonics. Grating couplers, formed as diffractive structures on the chip surface, are key components for input and output coupling in integrated photonic platforms. While near-infrared optical fibers exhibit large mode field diameters compared to the wavelength, in the long-wave regime commercially available single-mode optical fibers have mode field diameters of the order of the operating wavelength. Consequently, an efficient fiber-chip surface coupler designed for the long-wave infrared range must radiate the power propagating in the waveguide with a higher radiation strength than a conventional grating coupler in the near-infrared range. In this article, we leverage the short electrical length required for long-wave infrared couplers to design a broadband all-dielectric micro-antenna for a suspended germanium platform at 7.67 µm. The design methodology is inspired by fundamental grating coupler equations, which remain valid even when the micro-antenna has only two or three diffractive elements. A simulated coupling efficiency of ~ 40% is achieved with a 1-dB bandwidth broader than 430 nm, which is almost twice the typical fractional bandwidth of a conventional grating coupler. In addition, the proposed design is markedly tolerant to fiber tilt misalignments of ±10°. This all-dielectric micro-antenna design paves the way for efficient fiber-chip coupling in long-wavelength mid-infrared integrated platforms.
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