Ultrafast modulators based on nonlinear photonic crystal waveguides

Zhifu Liu, Jianheng Li, Yongming Tu, Seng-Tiong Ho, Bruce W Wessels

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

2 Scopus citations


Nonlinear photonic crystal (PhC) waveguides are being developed for ultrafast modulators. To enable phase velocity matching we have investigated one- and two-dimensional structures. Photonic crystal (PhC) waveguides based on epitaxial barium titanate (BTO) thin film in a Si3N 4/BTO/MgO multilayer structure were fabricated by electron beam lithography or focused ion beam (FIB) milling. For both one- and two-dimensional PhCs, simulation shows that sufficient refractive index contrast is achieved to form a stop band. For one-dimensional Bragg reflector, we measured its slow light properties and the group refractive index of optical wave. For a millimeter long waveguide a 27 nm wide stop band was obtained at 1550 nm. A slowing of the light was observed, the group refractive indices at the mid band gap and at the band edges were estimated to be between 8.0 and 12 for the transverse electric (TE) mode, and 6.9 and 13 for the transverse magnetic (TM) mode. For TE optical modes, the enhancement factor of EO coefficient ranges from 7 to 13, and for the TM mode, the factor ranges from 5.9 to 15. Measurements indicate that near velocity phase matching can be realized. Upon realizing the phase velocity matching condition, devices with a small foot print with bandwidths at 490 GHz can be attained. Two-dimensional PhC crystal with a hexagonal lattice was also investigated. The PhCs were fabricated from epitaxial BTO thin film multilayers using focused ion beam milling. The PhCs are based on BTO slab waveguide and air hole arrays defined within Si3N 4 and BTO thin films. A refractive index contrast of 0.4 between the barium titanate thin film multilayers and the air holes enables strong light confinement. For the TE optical mode, the hexagonal photonic crystal lattice with a diameter of 155 nm and a lattice constant of 740 nm yields a photonic bandgap over the wavelength range from 1525 to 1575 nm. The transmission spectrum of the PhC waveguide exhibits stronger Fabry Perot resonance compared to that of conventional waveguide. Measured transmission spectra show a bandgap in the ΓM direction in the reciprocal lattice that is in agreement with the simulated results using the finite-difference time-domain (FDTD) method. Compared to polarization intensity EO modulator with a half-wave voltage length product of 4.7 V•mm. The PhC based EO modulator has a factor of 6.6 improvement in the figure of merit performance. The thin film PhC waveguide devices show considerable potential for ultra-wide bandwidth electro-optic modulators as well as tunable optical filters and switches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAdvances in Slow and Fast Light IV
StatePublished - May 13 2011
EventAdvances in Slow and Fast Light IV - San Francisco, CA, United States
Duration: Jan 23 2011Jan 25 2011


OtherAdvances in Slow and Fast Light IV
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Francisco, CA


  • EO modulator.
  • Ferroelectric thin film
  • barium titanate (BTO)
  • electro-optic (EO) material

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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