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Automated on-axis direct laser writing of coupling elements for photonic chips



Edgar Perez, Gregory Moille, Xiyuan Lu, Daron Westly, Kartik Srinivasan


Direct laser writing (DLW) has recently been used to create versatile micro-optic structures that facilitate photonic-chip coupling, like free-form lenses, free-form mirrors, and photonic wirebonds. However, at the edges of photonic chips, the top-down/off-axis printing orientation typically used limits the size and complexity of structures and the range of materials compatible with the DLW process. To avoid these issues, we develop a DLW method in which the photonic chip's optical input/output (IO) ports are co-linear with the axis of the lithography beam (on-axis printing). Alignment automation and port identification are enabled by a 1-dimensional barcode-like pattern that is fabricated within the chip's device layer and surrounds the IO waveguides to increase their visibility. We demonstrate passive alignment to these markers using standard machine vision techniques, and print single-element elliptical lenses along an array of 42 ports with a 100 % fabrication yield. These lenses improve fiber-to-chip misalignment tolerance relative to other fiber- based coupling techniques. The 1 dB excess loss diameter increases from 2 um when using a lensed fiber to 10 um when using the DLW printed micro-optic and a cleaved fiber. The insertion loss penalty introduced by moving to this misalignment-tolerant coupling approach is limited, with an additional loss (in comparison to the lensed fiber) as small as 1 dB and 2 dB on average. Going forward, on-axis printing can accommodate a variety of multi-element free-space and guided wave coupling elements, without requiring calibration of printing dose specific to the geometry of the 3D printed structure or to the materials comprising the photonic chip. It also enables novel methods for interconnection between chips. To that end, we fabricate a proof-of-concept 3D photonic wire bond between two vertically stacked photonic chips.
Optics Express


Perez, E. , Moille, G. , Lu, X. , Westly, D. and Srinivasan, K. (2020), Automated on-axis direct laser writing of coupling elements for photonic chips, Optics Express, [online],, (Accessed June 24, 2024)


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Created December 20, 2020, Updated October 12, 2021