Nanophotonic waveguides and components are promising for use in the large-scale integration of photonic circuits. Coupling light between nanophotonic waveguides and a single-mode fiber is an important problem and many different solutions have been proposed and demonstrated in recent years. In this paper, we discuss a grating coupler approach. Grating couplers can be placed anywhere on a circuit and can easily be integrated. We have experimentally demonstrated >30% coupling efficiency with a 1 dB bandwidth of 40 nm on standard wafers. Theoretically, the coupling efficiency can be improved to >90% using an optimized grating design and layer stack. The fabrication of the couplers in silicon-on-insulator and in indium phosphide membranes is also discussed.
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