We show how to optically connect guiding layers at different elevations in a 3-D integrated photonic circuit. Transfer of optical power carried by planar, semi-guided waves is possible without reflections or radiation losses, and over large vertical distances. This functionality is realized through simple step-like folds of high-contrast dielectric slab waveguides, in combination with oblique wave incidence, and fulfilling a resonance condition. Radiation losses vanish, and polarization conversion is suppressed for TE wave incidence beyond certain critical angles. This can be understood by fundamental arguments resting on a version of Snell’s law. The two 90° corners of a step act as identical partial reflectors in a Fabry–Perot-like resonator setup. By selecting the step height, i.e., the distance between the reflectors, one realizes resonant states with full transmission. Rigorous quasi-analytical simulations for typical silicon/silica parameters demonstrate the functioning. Combinations of several step junctions can lead to other types of optical on-chip connects, e.g., U-turn- or bridge-like configurations.
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