Key Multimode Silicon Photonic Devices Inspired by Geometrical Optics

Chunlei Sun, Yunhong Ding, Zhen Li, Wei Qi, Yu Yu*, Xinliang Zhang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


On-chip optical interconnect has been widely accepted as a promising technology to realize future large-scale multiprocessors. Mode-division multiplexing (MDM) provides a new degree of freedom for optical interconnects to dramatically increase the link capacity. For present on-chip multimode devices, although large amounts of computation and optimization are adopted to support more modes, mode-independent manipulation is still hard to be achieved due to severe mode dispersion. Here, we propose a promising solution to standardize the design of fundamental multimode building blocks, inspired by the geometrical-optics concept, adopting a waveguide width larger than the working wavelength. The proposed solution can tackle a group of modes at the same time with very simple processes, avoiding a demultiplexing procedure and ensuring compact footprint. Compared to the conventional schemes, it is scalable to larger mode channels without increasing the complexity and whole footprint. As a proof of concept, we demonstrate a set of multimode building blocks, including crossing, bend, coupler, and switches, with low loss and power consumption. Our work promotes the multimode photonics research and makes the MDM technique more practical.

Original languageEnglish
JournalACS Photonics
Issue number8
Pages (from-to)2037-2045
Publication statusPublished - 19 Aug 2020


  • Geometrical optics
  • Integrated optics devices
  • Mode-division multiplexing
  • Optical switching devices


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