Dielectric Metasurface as a Platform for Spatial Mode Conversion in Nanoscale Waveguides

David Ohana, Boris Desiatov, Noa Mazurski, Uriel Levy*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Scopus citations


We experimentally demonstrate a nanoscale mode converter that performs coupling between the first two transverse electric-like modes of a silicon-on-insulator waveguide. The device operates by introducing a nanoscale periodic perturbation in its effective refractive index along the propagation direction and a graded effective index profile along its transverse direction. The periodic perturbation provides phase matching between the modes, while the graded index profile, which is realized by the implementation of nanoscale dielectric metasurface consisting of silicon features that are etched into the waveguide taking advantage of the effective medium concept, provides the overlap between the modes. Following the device design and numerical analysis using three-dimensional finite difference time domain simulations, we have fabricated the device and characterized it by directly measuring the modal content using optical imaging microscopy. From these measurements, the mode purity is estimated to be 95% and the transmission relative to an unperturbed strip waveguide is as high as 88%. Finally, we extend this approach to accommodate for the coupling between photonic and plasmonic modes. Specifically, we design and numerically demonstrate photonic to plasmonic mode conversion in a hybrid waveguide in which photonic and surface plasmon polariton modes can be guided in the silicon core and in the silicon/metal interface, respectively. The same method can also be used for coupling between symmetric and antisymmetric plasmonic modes in metal-insulator-metal or insulator-metal-insulator structures. On the basis of the current demonstration, we believe that such nanoscale dielectric metasurface-based mode converters can now be realized and become an important building block in future nanoscale photonic and plasmonic devices. Furthermore, the demonstrated platform can be used for the implementation of other chip scale components such as splitters, combiners couplers, and more.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)7956-7961
Number of pages6
JournalNano Letters
Issue number12
StatePublished - 14 Dec 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 American Chemical Society.


  • Dielectric metasurface
  • effective medium
  • mode converter
  • nanoscale
  • waveguide


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