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Phys Rev Lett. 2010 Jan 22;104(3):033902. Epub 2010 Jan 20.

Roughness induced backscattering in optical silicon waveguides.

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  • 1Policom-DEI, Politecnico di Milano, Via Colombo 81, 20133 Milano, Italy. morichetti@elet.polimi.it


We report on the direct observation of backscattering induced by sidewall roughness in high-index-contrast optical waveguides based on total internal reflection. Our results demonstrate that backscattering is one of the most severe limiting factors in state-of-the art silicon on insulator nanowires employed in densely integrated photonics. We also derive the general relationship between backscattering and geometrical and optical parameters of the waveguide. Further, the role of roughness in polarization rotation and coupling with higher-order modes is pointed out.

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