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In JoVE (1)

Other Publications (17)

Articles by Liam O'Faolain in JoVE

 JoVE Applied Physics

Fabrication And Characterization Of Photonic Crystal Slow Light Waveguides And Cavities

1School of Physics & Astronomy, University of St Andrews


JoVE 50216

Use of photonic crystal slow light waveguides and cavities has been widely adopted by the photonics community in many differing applications. Therefore fabrication and characterization of these devices are of great interest. This paper outlines our fabrication technique and two optical characterization methods, namely: interferometric (waveguides) and resonant scattering (cavities).

Other articles by Liam O'Faolain on PubMed

Compact Polarization Converter in InP-based Material

We present a polarization converter using one-dimensional grating principles. The device is based on slanted slots etched deeply into an InP/InGaAsP heterostructure. Almost complete polarization conversion, with a 14 dB extinction ratio, is observed for a device less than 2 microm long.

Dependence of Extrinsic Loss on Group Velocity in Photonic Crystal Waveguides

We examine the effects of disorder on propagation loss as a function of group velocity for W1 photonic crystal (PhC) waveguides. Disorder is deliberately and controllably introduced into the photonic crystal by pseudo-randomly displacing the holes of the photonic lattice. This allows us to clearly distinguish two types of loss. Away from the band-edge and for moderately slow light (group velocity c/20-c/30) loss scales sub-linearly with group velocity, whereas near the band-edge, reflection loss increases dramatically due to the random and local shift of the band-edge. The optical analysis also shows that the random fabrication errors of our structures, made on a standard e-beam lithography system, are below 1 nm root mean square.

Ultracompact and Low-power Optical Switch Based on Silicon Photonic Crystals

Switching light is one of the most fundamental functions of an optical circuit. As such, optical switches are a major research topic in photonics, and many types of switches have been realized. Most optical switches operate by imposing a phase shift between two sections of the device to direct light from one port to another, or to switch it on and off, the major constraint being that typical refractive index changes are very small. Conventional solutions address this issue by making long devices, thus increasing the footprint, or by using resonant enhancement, thus reducing the bandwidth. We present a slow-light-enhanced optical switch that is 36 times shorter than a conventional device for the same refractive index change and has a switching length of 5.2 microm.

Systematic Design of Flat Band Slow Light in Photonic Crystal Waveguides

We present a systematic procedure for designing "flat bands" of photonic crystal waveguides for slow light propagation. The procedure aims to maximize the group index - bandwidth product by changing the position of the first two rows of holes of W1 line defect photonic crystal waveguides. A nearly constant group index - bandwidth product is achieved for group indices of 30-90 and as an example, we experimentally demonstrate flat band slow light with nearly constant group indices of 32.5, 44 and 49 over 14 nm, 11 nm and 9.5 nm bandwidth around 1550 nm, respectively.

Reconfigurable Microfluidic Photonic Crystal Slab Cavities

We demonstrate the spectral and spatial reconfigurability of photonic crystal double-heterostructure cavities in silicon by microfluidic infiltration of selected air holes. The lengths of the microfluidic cavities are changed by adjusting the region of infiltrated holes in steps of several microns. We systematically investigate the spectral signature of these cavities, showing high Q-factor resonances for a broad range of cavity lengths. The fluid can be removed by immersing the device in toluene, offering complete reconfigurability. Our cavity writing technique allows for tolerances in the infiltration process and provides flexibility as it can be employed at any time after photonic crystal fabrication.

High-Q Microfluidic Cavities in Silicon-based Two-dimensional Photonic Crystal Structures

We demonstrate postprocessed microfluidic double-heterostructure cavities in silicon-based photonic crystal slab waveguides. The cavity structure is realized by selective fluid infiltration of air holes using a glass microtip, resulting in a local change of the average refractive index of the photonic crystal. The microcavities are probed by evanescent coupling from a silica nanowire. An intrinsic quality factor of 57,000 has been derived from our measurements, representing what we believe to be the largest value observed in microfluidic photonic crystal cavities to date.

Slow Light Enhancement of Nonlinear Effects in Silicon Engineered Photonic Crystal Waveguides

We report nonlinear measurements on 80microm silicon photonic crystal waveguides that are designed to support dispersionless slow light with group velocities between c/20 and c/50. By launching picoseconds pulses into the waveguides and comparing their output spectral signatures, we show how self phase modulation induced spectral broadening is enhanced due to slow light. Comparison of the measurements and numerical simulations of the pulse propagation elucidates the contribution of the various effects that determine the output pulse shape and the waveguide transfer function. In particular, both experimental and simulated results highlight the significant role of two photon absorption and free carriers in the silicon waveguides and their reinforcement in the slow light regime.

Photonic Crystal Lens for Coupling Two Waveguides

We report the design, fabrication, and characterization of a new nanophotonic device comprising a two-dimensional photonic crystal (PhC) lens of size 3x4 microm fabricated in silicon-on-insulator. The PhC lens is put at the output of a planar waveguide of width 4.5 microm to couple light into a planar waveguide of width 1 microm, with two waveguides being of length 5 mm. A 1 microm off-axis displacement of the smaller waveguide leads to an 8-fold reduction of output light intensity, which means that the focal spot size at output of the PhC lens in silicon is less than 1 microm. The simulation has shown that the PhC lens has maximal transmittance at 1.55 microm, with the coupling efficiency being 73%. The focal spot size of the lens in air calculated at the FWHM is 0.32lambda (where lambda is the wavelength).

Nonlinear Loss Dynamics in a Silicon Slow-light Photonic Crystal Waveguide

We directly investigate both experimentally and numerically the influence of optical nonlinear loss dynamics on a silicon waveguide based all-optical device. The dynamics of these nonlinear losses are explored through the analysis of optical limiting of an amplitude distorted 10 Gbit/s signal in a slow-light silicon photonic crystal waveguide. As the frequency of the distortion approaches the free-carrier recombination rate, free-carrier absorption reaches a steady state, leaving two-photon absorption the dominant dynamic nonlinear loss. Our results highlight the importance of engineering the free-carrier lifetime in silicon waveguides for high speed all-optical processing applications.

Photonic Crystal Formed by the Imaginary Part of the Refractive Index

Low-power Continuous-wave Generation of Visible Harmonics in Silicon Photonic Crystal Nanocavities

We present the first demonstration of frequency conversion by simultaneous second- and third-harmonic generation in a silicon photonic crystal nanocavity using continuous-wave optical excitation. We observe a bright dual wavelength emission in the blue/green (450-525 nm) and red (675-790 nm) visible windows with pump powers as low as few microwatts in the telecom bands, with conversion efficiencies of ∼ 10 (-5) /W and ∼ 10/ W(2) for the second- and third-harmonic, respectively. Scaling behaviors as a function of pump power and cavity quality-factor are demonstrated for both second- and third order processes. Successful comparison of measured and calculated emission patterns indicates that third-harmonic is a bulk effect while second-harmonic is a surface-related effect at the sidewall holes boundaries. Our results are promising for obtaining practical low-power, continuous-wave and widely tunable multiple harmonic generation on a silicon chip.

Fabrication of Low Loss Dispersion Engineered Chalcogenide Photonic Crystals

We demonstrate low loss photonic crystal waveguides in chalcogenide (Ge(33)As(12)Se(55)) glasses. The measured losses are as low as 21 dB/cm. We experimentally determine the refractive index of the thin film chalcogenide glass to be n = 2.6 and demonstrate that dispersion engineering can be performed up to a group index of ng = 40 in this relatively low refractive index contrast system.

Four-wave Mixing in Photonic Crystal Waveguides: Slow Light Enhancement and Limitations

We demonstrate continuous wave four-wave mixing in silicon photonic crystal waveguides of 396 μm length with a group index of ng=30. The highest observed conversion efficiency is -24 dB for 90 mW coupled input pump power. The key question we address is whether the predicted fourth power dependence of the conversion efficiency on the slowdown factor (η≈S4) can indeed be observed in this system, and how the conversion efficiency depends on device length in the presence of propagation losses. We find that the expected dependencies hold as long as both realistic losses and the variation of mode shape with slowdown factor are taken into account. Having achieved a good agreement between a simple analytical model and the experiment, we also predict structures that can achieve the same conversion efficiency as already observed in nanowires for the same input power, yet for a device length that is 50 times shorter.

Ultracompact 160 Gbaud All-optical Demultiplexing Exploiting Slow Light in an Engineered Silicon Photonic Crystal Waveguide

We demonstrate all-optical demultiplexing of a high-bandwidth, time-division multiplexed 160 Gbit/s signal to 10 Gbit/s channels, exploiting slow light enhanced four-wave mixing in a dispersion engineered, 96 μm long planar photonic crystal waveguide. We report error-free (bit error rate<10⁻⁹) operation of all 16 demultiplexed channels, with a power penalty of 2.2-2.4 dB, highlighting the potential of these structures as a platform for ultracompact all-optical nonlinear processes.

Third-harmonic Generation in Slow-light Chalcogenide Glass Photonic Crystal Waveguides

We demonstrate third-harmonic generation (THG) in a dispersion-engineered slow-light photonic crystal waveguide fabricated in AMTIR-1 chalcogenide glass. Owing to the relatively low loss and low dispersion in the slow-light (c/30) regime, combined with the high nonlinear figure of merit of the material (∼2), we obtain a relatively large conversion efficiency (1.4×10(-8)/W(2)), which is 30× higher than in comparable silicon waveguides, and observe a uniform visible light pattern along the waveguide. These results widen the number of applications underpinned by THG in slow-light platforms, such as the direct observation of the spatial evolution of the propagating mode.

Slow-light Enhanced Correlated Photon Pair Generation in a Silicon Photonic Crystal Waveguide

We report the generation of correlated photon pairs in the telecom C-band at room temperature from a dispersion-engineered silicon photonic crystal waveguide. The spontaneous four-wave mixing process producing the photon pairs is enhanced by slow-light propagation enabling an active device length of less than 100 μm. With a coincidence to accidental ratio of 12.8 at a pair generation rate of 0.006 per pulse, this ultracompact photon pair source paves the way toward scalable quantum information processing realized on-chip.

Four-wave Mixing in Slow Light Photonic Crystal Waveguides with Very High Group Index

We report efficient four-wave mixing in dispersion engineered slow light silicon photonic crystal waveguides with a flat band group index of ng = 60. Using only 15 mW continuous wave coupled input power, we observe a conversion efficiency of -28 dB. This efficiency represents a 30 dB enhancement compared to a silicon nanowire of the same length. At higher powers, thermal redshifting due to linear absorption was found to detune the slow light regime preventing the expected improvement in efficiency. We then overcome this thermal limitation by using oxide-clad waveguides, which we demonstrate for group indices of ng = 30. Higher group indices may be achieved with oxide clad-waveguides, and we predict conversion efficiencies approaching -10 dB, which is equivalent to that already achieved in silicon nanowires but for a 50x shorter length.

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