Conference paper

Tuning the optical properties of planar photonic crystals by liquid crystal infiltration

Recently there has been a growing amount of attention devoted to tuneable photonic crystals (PhCs) where the optical response of PhC structures can be dynamically modified. We will show how infiltrating planar PhCs with a synthetic organic material allows the trimming and tuning of their optical properties. The potential of PhC infiltration will be demonstrated for InP-based planar PhCs consisting of a hexagonal array of air holes (hole diameter = 200 - 400 nm; air filling factor = 0.40-0.50) etched through a planar waveguide in which light emitters (i.e. quantum wells) were embedded to enable optical measurements. The PhC pores were infiltrated with LC-K15 (5CB) nematic liquid crystals (LCs) in a specifically designed vacuum chamber, thereby changing the refractive index contrast between the holes and the semiconductor (trimming). Moreover, the possibility of tuning the optical response of PhCs by an external perturbation (i.e. temperature) was demonstrated. The change of the PhC optical properties due to infiltration and temperature tuning was studied both experimentally and theoretically. Experimental measurements were compared to theoretical calculations in order to obtain information on the in-filling efficiency, the LC refractive index, and the molecule orientation inside the holes. In the first case, optical measurements were performed as a function of temperature, whilst the average LC director configuration was determined by comparing transmission spectra in the transverse electric and magnetic polarization directions


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