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Applications

George Isaac and Diaa Khalil

loss assessment in tapered hollow dielectric waveguide structures

and verify the results numerically. Both the linear and parabolic

taper structures are studied with our technique and the obtained

results are compared with the BPM calculations and a good

agreement is observed. Our results also show that hollow

waveguide tapers may be used as spot size converters.

Index Terms

coefficient.

hollow

waveguide,

Optical

MEMS,

loss

I. INTRODUCTION

do not support guided modes. Treatment of such

structures can be carried out in a very similar fashion to

normally guiding structures through the use of leaky modes

[1]. Leaky modes lose power as they propagate along hollow

structures. However, by exciting the fundamental mode in a

multimode hollow waveguide, the leakage losses can be made

small.

In a recent work [2], hollow waveguides have found an

interesting application in the optical MEMS switch greatly

enhancing its performance. However, lensed fibers are needed

to match the small fiber spot size to the spot size necessary to

excite the fundamental mode in a hollow square waveguide

having dimensions 80mx80m. In this work, we suggest the

use of hollow waveguide tapers as spot size converters, so that

they replace lensed fibers in MEMS applications.

II. TAPER LOSSES

A. Taper Loss Calculation

The power loss coefficients of leaky TE and TM modes of a

hollow slab waveguide having a width w can be derived from

a ray model and are given respectively by [1]

4 h2

w ( h + )

(1)

4 n s 2 ng 2 h 2

w ( ns 2 h + ng 2 )

(2)

the core and cladding respectively and is the longitudinal

propagation constant. These quantities are related by the

equations

2 = ko 2 ng 2 h 2 = ko 2 ns 2 2

(3)

and cladding refractive indices respectively. From the ray

model it is possible to deduce a value for h [1]

h = N w

(4)

manner similar to that for a normally guiding dielectric

waveguide, where a mode can only exist only if points on the

same wavefront differ in phase by an integer multiple of 2 .

We shall consider only TE polarization. The TM

polarization can be treated in an exactly similar fashion. If the

tapers are adiabatic, then we can assume that if power is

injected into the fundamental mode of the structure ( N = 1 )

then it will remain in the fundamental mode during

propagation [3]. Therefore, we shall neglect any coupling to

higher order modes in the subsequent analysis. According to

the adiabatic approximation, we can assume that equations (1)

to (4) hold locally at every point inside the waveguide so that

the loss coefficient becomes z dependent. By definition we

have,

(z) =

1 dP

P dz

(5)

equation as follows

1 dP dw 4h 2

(6)

=

P dw dz w

This follows from the approximation of small losses. The right

hand side is just (1) but with h which is the case of small

losses [1]. Rearranging this equation and putting

dz dw = f ( w) we can integrate (6) from the initial width wo

to an arbitrary width w to find the waveguide power at an

arbitrary width as

w 4h '2 f ( w ')

P = Po exp

dw ' = Po exp ( ( w) )

(7)

w w' ' '

w2 B wo 2 + C

ln 2

2

w + C wo B

wo

(11)

wf

L

This integral can be solved analytically under certain

approximations for linear and parabolic tapers. The detailed

calculations can be found in the next section.

2

and C =

2

2

ko ns ng

B. Analytical Results

1

where B =

2 ko ng

1

k o ng

w

k

2

o ng

2

= k o 2 ng 2

(8)

w = wo + ( w f wo )

z

L

and

= ko 2 (ns 2 ng 2 ) +

w

ko ns 2 ng 2 +

1

2ko ns 2 ng 2

f ( w) =

w

2 L( w wo )

( w f wo )2

(9)

using in this paper. Using (8) and (9) we can write

wo

( w) =

wf

ng ns 2 ng 2

1 2

1

wo ( w '2

(

) )( w '2 + (

)2 )

2 k o ng

2 ko ns 2 ng 2

(10)

L

z

total length of the tapered section. For the linear taper we

have,

w f wo

w = wo +

z

L

f ( w) = 1 dw dz = L ( w f wo )

to yield,

( w) =

2L

2 ( B + C ) ( w f wo )ng ns 2 ng 2

( w) =

[

2L

2

2

( w f wo ) ng ns 2 ng 2

C1 w2 B wo 2 + C C2 1 w

1 wo

ln (

)(

) +

tan

tan

2 w2 + C wo 2 B

C

C

w + B wo B

ln (

)(

) ]

2 B w B wo + B

C3

where C1 = wo

(B + C) ,

(12)

C2 = C / ( B + C ) and

C3 = B ( B + C ) .

C. BPM Assessment

In this section we compare BPM simulation results to the

analytical formulas (11) and (12). The hollow waveguide is

assumed to have a core refractive index of unity (air) and a

cladding refractive index of 3.5 (Silicon). The operating

wavelength is 1.55m. The waveguide tapers from a width of

10m to a width of 80m. At the end of the taper section, we

place a straight hollow waveguide having a width of 80m in

order to calculate the overlap between the propagated field in

the taper section and the fundamental mode of the hollow

waveguide having the final width. Typical structures for linear

and parabolic tapers are shown in figures 3a and 3b, along

with the field propagation inside the guide. A Pade (4,4)

scheme is employed in the BPM calculations to ensure

accurate results.

The waveguide is excited with the local normal mode of the

taper section at its input, assumed to be the same as that of the

axial field a closed waveguide with the same dimensions. The

justification for this can be found in [4], where the lower order

modes of multimode optical waveguides of arbitrary cross

sections are found to be equivalent to those of the longitudinal

fields in a closed waveguide. Since hollow waveguides can be

treated like normally guiding dielectric waveguides except for

a complex propagation constant we may treat their field

distributions similarly. The power inside the taper section is

monitored along with distance and compared to equations (11)

and (12) for different taper lengths ranging from 1000m to

4000m. Results for the linear and parabolic tapers are shown

in figure 4. In tables I and II we compare the total loss in dB

from simulation for the different taper kinds and lengths and

refractive index contrast, taking into consideration the

propagation loss and also the loss due to the inexact overlap

between the field distribution at the end of the hollow taper

and the fundamental mode of the output waveguide.

As a confirmation that the approximations made are

accurate, a numerical integration is carried out to calculate the

exact dependence of power on distance. The loss coefficient is

used as it appears in equation (1). We plot the results for both

tapers in figures 5 and 6 in the worst case which corresponds

to the fastest variation (i.e. for a taper length 1000m). We

can see that our approximation underestimates the losses in

the case of the linear taper structure while it overestimates it in

the parabolic structure. However in the two cases, the

differences are not quite significant.

We also compare the transmission from the end of the taper

for different taper angles. This is shown for the linear taper in

figure 7 and for the parabolic taper in figure 8. The taper angle

is calculated from

w f wo

2L

= tan 1

(13)

Fig. 5. Exact, approximate and simulation results compared for linear taper

length 1000m.

Fig. 6. Exact, approximate and simulation results compared for parabolic

taper length 1000m.

TABLE II

TAPER COMPARISON FOR DIFFERENT LENGTHS, SILICON DIOXIDE SUBSTRATE

Taper

Length

(m)

1000

2000

3000

4000

P

(dB)

0.64

1.29

1.95

2.61

Linear

O

(dB)

1.32

1.49

2.05

2.67

Parabolic

T

(dB)

1.96

2.78

4

5.28

P

(dB)

O

(dB)

T

(dB)

0.46

0.56

0.683

0.828

1.85

1.38

1.03

0.90

2.31

1.94

1.713

1.728

III. DISCUSSION

Fig. 7. Transmission from the linear taper section for air core and both silicon

and silicon dioxide substrates.

Fig. 8. Transmission from the parabolic taper section for air core and both

silicon and silicon dioxide substrates.

tapers predicts a behavior that is close to BPM calculations.

However, for parabolic tapers, there is a relatively larger

discrepancy between BPM and theory. This can be attributed

to the fact that coupling to higher order modes takes place,

which is obvious from the field propagation shown in figure

3b and also from the ripples in the graphs shown in figure 4.

Since higher order modes have higher losses, the theory

underestimates the losses in such a situation but not by a

significant amount. Table I clearly shows that as the taper

length increases propagation losses increase. This is because

light propagates in a smaller width for larger distances for

increasing length tapers. For parabolic tapers, this increase is

smaller than for linear tapers, a result also predicted by theory.

For silicon substrate, the propagation losses increased by

0.136 dB for lengths ranging from 1000m to 4000m in the

parabolic taper but increased by 0.63 dB in the linear taper.

The overlap losses are smaller for long parabolic tapers

compared to linear tapers. Overlap loss cannot be calculated

from the theory presented here as it assumes that there is no

coupling to higher order modes. As for overall performance,

our results indicate that long parabolic tapers can act as spot

size converters with a total loss of 0.7 dB for a length of

4000m, if silicon substrates are used.

IV. CONCLUSION

TABLE I

TAPER COMPARISON FOR DIFFERENT LENGTHS , SILICON SUBSTRATE

Taper

Linear

Length

P

O

(m)

(dB)

(dB)

1000

0.2

1

2000

0.41

0.67

3000

0.62

0.75

4000

0.83

0.90

P=propagation loss

O=overlap loss

T=total loss

Parabolic

T

(dB)

1.2

1.08

1.37

1.73

P

(dB)

O

(dB)

T

(dB)

0.15

0.19

0.24

0.286

2

1.33

0.62

0.416

2.15

1.14

0.86

0.70

hollow waveguide taper losses based on the adiabatic

approximation. Theoretical formulas for predicting the losses

along arbitrary hollow waveguide tapers have been presented

and two taper types are studied, linear and parabolic. The

formulas can be used to compare the losses in various types of

tapers to a good accuracy and thus may be used efficiently in

optimization of the taper function. We demonstrated also that

the parabolic taper is superior in spot size conversion to the

linear taper, giving 0.7 dB loss for a length of 4000m. This is

also the case in taper guiding structures. An extension of the

simple theory presented here may take into consideration

mode coupling of leaky modes.

REFERENCES

[1]

[2]

[3]

[4]

Academic Press, second edition, 1991.

Kareem Madkour, Hesham Maaty and Diaa Khalil, "Hollow Waveguides

for NxN Optical Cross Connect Switch", ECOC 2003.

W.K. Burns and A.F. Milton, Waveguide Transitions and

Junctions, Guided Wave Optoelectronics, editor: Theodore Tamir,

Springer , 1988.

Allan W. Snyder and Xue-Heng Zheng, "Optical Fibers of Arbitrary

Cross Sections", J. Opt. Soc. Am. A/vol. 3, no.5, May 1986.

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