Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Compact Photonic Integrated Optical Circuits - Hybrid PhC Conventional Waveguides

One aspect to photonic crystal research that puzzles me greatly, is why it is commonly (wrongly) thought that PhC's should even be contemplated for general waveguiding use in integrated planar optical waveguides.

PhC's are nothing more than an extension of the concepts found in conventional thin film multilayer filter mirrors, but to the 2nd / 3rd Dimension. What is trivially evident in waveguiding applications, is that the nature of the granularity of micro/ nanofabricated PhC's is such that it is intrinsically "rough", filled with scatterers, as one might call it (apparent when one has critically trying to smooth the roughness of more common planar integrated optical dielectric waveguides for ultimate in low loss optical waveguide transport).

So it is unclear how PhCs might have benefits for general waveguide transport in integrated optics - since at first glance the basis for the structures - appears more like a scatterer than one might want to contemplate for use in optical waveguiding. And scattering from waveguide edges, results in lossy waveguide optical transport. This is not to disparage use of PhCs as integrated optical elements (as discrete integrated optical components in an integrated optical circuit), but it would seem intuitively that PhCs might have little promise as more general optical waveguiding transport elements.

I had the pleasure of working for an innovative professor at University of Alabama - who was very strong in computation of EM first principal effects in dielectric optical waveguides and PhC's.

Prof. Greg Nordin, who had the very sensible idea to do away with PhC's in the straight and simpler low bend radius optical waveguide sections, so as to reduce overall WG losses !!!

But still use PhC's novel capabilities in turning, filtering, splitting - for very compact integrated optical elements. Love it.

Prof. Nordin, now at BYU, is a perfect gentleman - smart as a whip and with profound insight into integrated optics and computational modeling of waveguide structure properties. He understands the proper use of novel structures in integrated optics and is an active researcher in design and computation of Photonic Crystal structures.

He has profound interest in small bend integrated optical structures - Air gap turning mirrors and optical ring like resonators and similar, made of air gap mirrors, both in modelling and nanofabrication.

CONT'D - click READ MORE.... for the full scoop.


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