The use of a birefringent graded photonic crystal (GPhC) is proposed for the realization of an efficient polarization beam splitter. This approach allows decoupling the two functions of efficient light injection for both polarizations and TE/TM beam splitting. A smooth light polarization splitting is naturally achieved due to the different curved trajectories followed within the graded medium by the TE and TM waves. A 160 nm operating bandwidth with insertion loss around 1 dB and interpolarization crosstalk below is predicted by a finite difference time domain simulation. The unusually exploited electromagnetic phenomena are experimentally evidenced by scanning near-field optical measurements performed on samples fabricated using the silicon on insulator photonics technology. These experimental works open perspectives for the use of birefringent GPhCs to manage polarization diversity in silicon photonic circuits.
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