Optics Express

Distributed backscattering in production O-band Si nanophotonic waveguides

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Backscattering in integrated photonic waveguides can significantly impact the performance of optical systems. However, it has not been extensively studied in the literature and measurements on waveguides fabricated in production foundry processes are particularly lacking in view of their importance to technology. Here we experimentally measure and analyze distributed backscattering in various production O-band silicon photonic waveguides. We find the measured backscattering to scale from −18 to −36 dB/mm. Measured trends across waveguide geometry and polarization are consistent with stochastic defects on waveguide sidewalls being the dominant source of distributed backscattering in production Si waveguides. For production SiNx waveguides, both sidewall and cladding defects need to be considered to fit measured trends.