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An integrated-nanophotonics polarization beamsplitter with 2.4 × 2.4 μm2 footprint


We have designed, fabricated and characterized an integrated-nanophotonics polarization beamsplitter with a footprint of 2.4 × 2.4 μm2, which is the smallest polarization beamsplitter ever demonstrated. A nonlinear optimization algorithm was used to design the device for λ0 = 1,550 nm. The polarization beamsplitter and the input/output waveguides can be fabricated in a single lithography step. Here, we experimentally show an average transmission efficiency of greater than 70% (peak transmission efficiency of 80%) and an extinction ratio greater than 10 dB within a bandwidth of 32 nm. Simulation results indicate that our device is tolerant to fabrication errors of up to ±20 nm in the device thickness. We also designed, fabricated and characterized a mode-converting polarization beamsplitter, which not only separates the two polarization states but also connects one multimode input waveguide to two single-mode output waveguides.

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Figure 1: The nanophotonic polarization beamsplitter.
Figure 2: Experiment.
Figure 3: Experimental and simulated performance of the nanophotonic PBS.
Figure 4: Mode-converting PBS.
Figure 5: Experimental and simulated performance of the nanophotonic mode-converting PBS.


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The authors thank J. Dominguez-Caballero for assistance with the DBS algorithm and B. Baker for sample preparation. This work made use of the University of Utah shared facilities of the Micron Technology Foundation Inc. Microscopy Suite sponsored by the College of Engineering, Health Sciences Center, Office of the Vice President for Research and the Utah Science Technology and Research (USTAR) initiative of the State of Utah. This work made use of University of Utah USTAR shared facilities, supported in part by the MRSEC Program of the National Science Foundation (NSF, award no. DMR-1121252). The work is supported by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA, NNX14AB13G), the US Department of Energy (DOE, EE0005959) and the University of Utah.

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Authors and Affiliations



B.S., P.W. and R.M. conceived and designed the experiments. B.S., P.W. and R.P. contributed materials/analysis tools. B.S. performed the experiments. B.S., R.P. and R.M. analysed the data. B.S., R.P. and R.M. wrote the paper.

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Correspondence to Rajesh Menon.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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Shen, B., Wang, P., Polson, R. et al. An integrated-nanophotonics polarization beamsplitter with 2.4 × 2.4 μm2 footprint. Nature Photon 9, 378–382 (2015).

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