Abstract

Low-loss dielectric terahertz (THz) chips are efficient platforms for diverse THz applications. One of the key elements in the chip is the coupler. Most of the available THz couplers are in-plane and couple the THz wave from the metal waveguide to the dielectric waveguide. However, out-of-plane couplers are more suitable for wafer-scale testing and tolerant of alignment variation. In this work, we propose an out-of-plane THz coupler for coupling the antenna to the dielectric waveguide. The device is constructed using a grating and a compact spot-size converter. As the conventional optical spot-size converters that apply directly to THz chips are too large, we have designed a compact spot-size converter based on a tapered waveguide with a lens. The total device is 2.9 cm long and can couple a 7 mm diameter THz beam to a 500 µm wide waveguide. The device can scan the THz beam, radiate the input rectangular waveguide mode to free space, and drive the rotation angle of the fan beam through the scanning frequency. We fabricated the device using a single lithography step on a silicon wafer. The out-of-plane coupling efficiency was found to be ∼5 dB at 194 GHz. The fan-beam steering range was found to be around 40° in the frequency range of 170–220 GHz. The proposed out-of-plane coupling technique may provide an effective way for THz wafer-scale testing with a higher degree of freedom for on-chip integration. Also, the proposed technique being non-mechanical, beam steering using it, may therefore find applications in THz radar, communication, and sensing.

© 2022 Chinese Laser Press

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