Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Sub-wavelength Metal Gratings for In-plane Lasers and Integrated Optical Elements
by Lively, Erica, Ph.D., University of California, Santa Barbara, 2012, 131; 3540198
Abstract (Summary)

Sub-wavelength periodic metal structures are currently being explored by many branches of photonics for enhanced light control on the nano-scale. Metal holes or slits have shown promise in plasmonic application areas like mirrors, couplers, waveguides, and lenses. These structures are also beginning to making a large impact on many emerging areas in photonics such as slow light, left-handed materials, and sensing. While metal and semiconductor integrated devices have rapidly advanced in sophistication over the last decade, few have yet to address the major challenges associated with transitioning from individual devices that demonstrate basic, physical operation to devices with potential for current and near-future telecommunications applications. Outstanding novel devices using metals have been presented, but they are missing key features that allow them to be integrated into photonic circuits. As we begin bridging the gap between simple, passive devices fabricated with traditional optical lithography and basic liftoff techniques to more sophisticated, sub-wavelength scale active devices, we focus on sub-wavelength metal gratings with design choices made to favor integration, both with respect to current state of the art optical components and fabrication on the nano- and micro-scale.

In this dissertation, we present a theoretical and experimental study of potential applications of sub-wavelength metal gratings in photonic integrated circuits. We consider on-chip slow light functionality and determine that the most achievable near-term impact of sub-wavelength metal gratings can be made in the area of on-chip, in-plane metal mirrors. We demonstrate the operation of a distributed Bragg reflector (DBR) laser with two metal grating mirrors operating on an InP-based materials platform. We account for future design considerations of scale and polarization to show that there is strong potential for integrating sub-wavelength metal gratings into current photonic integrated circuits.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Blumenthal, Daniel J.
Commitee: Bowers, John E., Coldren, Larry A., Dagli, Nadir
School: University of California, Santa Barbara
Department: Electrical & Computer Engineering
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 74/02(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Electrical engineering, Optics
Keywords: In-plane lasers, Integrated optical elements, Metal gratings, Sub-wavelength
Publication Number: 3540198
ISBN: 978-1-267-64860-0
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