Here, we propose to use the interference pattern which arises from the superposition of two coherent free space tilted beams at the input facet of an optical waveguide to excite selectively a given optical mode. By tuning the period of the interference fringes, it is possible to select the excited mode in the waveguide by maximizing the overlap integral with the modal optical field. Our setup is based on a free space interferometer that is theoretically capable of selectively exciting higher order modes in a micron-sized waveguide with an average cross-talk of 37 dB and a mode selectivity higher than 90%. The system is easily reconfigurable and can be straightforwardly integrated on a chip to enhance miniaturization, compactness, and stability.

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