Nanobeam Cavities for Reconfigurable Photonics

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Nanobeam Cavities for Reconfigurable Photonics

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Title: Nanobeam Cavities for Reconfigurable Photonics
Author: Deotare, Parag
Citation: Deotare, Parag. 2012. Nanobeam Cavities for Reconfigurable Photonics. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University.
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Abstract: We investigate the design, fabrication, and experimental characterization of high quality factor photonic crystal nanobeam cavities, with theoretical quality factors of \(1.4 × 10^7\) in silicon, operating at ~1550 nm. By detecting the cross-polarized resonantly scattered light from a normally incident laser beam, we measure a quality factor of nearly \(7.5 × 10^5\). We show on-chip integration of the cavities using waveguides and an inverse taper geometry based mode size converters, and also demonstrate tuning of the optical resonance using thermo-optic effect. We also study coupled cavities and show that the single nanobeam cavity modes are coupled into even and odd superposition modes. Using electrostatic force and taking advantage of the highly dispersive nature of the even mode to the nanobeam separation, we demonstrate dynamically reconfigurable optical filters tunable continuously and reversibly over a 9.5 nm wavelength range. The electrostatic force, obtained by applying bias voltages directly to the nanobeams, is used to control the spacing between the nanobeams, which in turn results in tuning of the cavity resonance. The observed tuning trends were confirmed through simulations that modeled the electrostatic actuation as well as the optical resonances in our reconfigurable geometries. Finally we demonstrate reconfiguration of coupled cavities by using optical gradient force induced mechanical actuation. Propagating waveguide modes that exist over wide wavelength range are used to actuate the structures and in that way control the resonance of a localized cavity mode. Using this all-optical approach, more than 18 linewidths of tuning range is demonstrated. Using an on-chip temperature self-referencing method that we developed, we determined that 20% of the total tuning was due to optomechanical reconfiguration and the rest due to thermo-optic effects. By operating the device at frequencies higher than the thermal cut-off, we show high speed operation dominated by just optomechanical effects. Independent control of mechanical and optical resonances of our structures, by means of optical stiffening, is also demonstrated.
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