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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle

Wideband Ge-Rich SiGe Polarization-Insensitive Waveguides for Mid-Infrared Free-Space Communications

1
Centre de Nanosciences et de Nanotechnologies (C2N), Université Paris Saclay, Université Paris Sud, CNRS, 91405 Orsay, France
2
L-NESS, Dipartimento di Fisica del Politecnico di Milano, Polo di Como, Via Anzani 42, I 22100 Como, Italy
3
National Research Council, Ottawa, ON K1A 0R6, Canada
4
Department of Electronics, Carleton University, 1125 Colonel by Dr., Ottawa, ON K1S 5B6, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Appl. Sci. 2018, 8(7), 1154; https://doi.org/10.3390/app8071154
Received: 19 June 2018 / Revised: 7 July 2018 / Accepted: 12 July 2018 / Published: 16 July 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Silicon Photonics – Emerging Devices and Applications)
The recent development of quantum cascade lasers, with room-temperature emission in the mid-infrared range, opened new opportunities for the implementation of ultra-wideband communication systems. Specifically, the mid-infrared atmospheric transparency windows, comprising wavelengths between 3–5 µm and 8–14 µm, have great potential for free-space communications, as they provide a wide unregulated spectrum with low Mie and Rayleigh scattering and reduced background noise. Despite the great efforts devoted to the development of mid-infrared sources and detectors, little attention is dedicated to the management of polarization for signal processing. In this work, we used Ge-rich SiGe alloys to build a wideband and polarization-insensitive mid-infrared photonic platform. We showed that the gradual index change in the SiGe alloys enabled the design of waveguides with remarkably low birefringence, below 2 × 10−4, over ultra-wide wavelength ranges within both atmospheric transparency windows, near wavelengths of 3.5 µm and 9 µm. We also report on the design of a polarization-independent multimode interference device achieving efficient power splitting in an unprecedented 4.5-µm bandwidth at around 10-µm wavelength. The ultra-wideband polarization-insensitive building blocks presented here pave the way for the development of high-performance on-chip photonic circuits for next-generation mid-infrared free-space communication systems. View Full-Text
Keywords: photonic integrated circuits; mid-infrared; polarization-insensitive photonic integrated circuits; mid-infrared; polarization-insensitive
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MDPI and ACS Style

Vakarin, V.; Ramírez, J.M.; Frigerio, J.; Liu, Q.; Ballabio, A.; Le Roux, X.; Alonso-Ramos, C.; Isella, G.; Cheben, P.; N. Ye, W.; Vivien, L.; Marris-Morini, D. Wideband Ge-Rich SiGe Polarization-Insensitive Waveguides for Mid-Infrared Free-Space Communications. Appl. Sci. 2018, 8, 1154.

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