Ultra-compact broadband polarization diversity orbital angular momentum generator with 3.6 × 3.6 μm2 footprint

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Science Advances  31 May 2019:
Vol. 5, no. 5, eaau9593
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aau9593


Orbital angular momentum (OAM), one fundamental property of light, has been of great interest over the past decades. An ideal OAM generator, fully compatible with existing physical dimensions (wavelength and polarization) of light, would offer the distinct features of broadband, polarization diversity, and ultra-compact footprint. Here, we propose, design, fabricate, and demonstrate an ultra-compact chip-scale broadband polarization diversity OAM generator on a silicon platform with a 3.6 × 3.6 μm2 footprint. The silicon OAM chip is formed by introducing a subwavelength surface structure (superposed holographic fork gratings) on top of a silicon waveguide, coupling the in-plane waveguide mode to the out-plane free-space OAM mode. We demonstrate in theory and experiment the broadband generation of polarization diversity OAM modes (x-/y-polarized OAM+1/OAM−1) from 1500 to 1630 nm with high purity and efficiency. The demonstrations of an ultra-compact broadband polarization diversity OAM generator may open up new perspectives for OAM-assisted N-dimensional optical multiplexing communications/interconnects and high-dimensional quantum communication systems.

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