Letters to Nature

Nature 429, 538-542 (3 June 2004) | doi:10.1038/nature02575; Received 20 December 2003; Accepted 19 April 2004

A three-dimensional optical photonic crystal with designed point defects

Minghao Qi, Elefterios Lidorikis, Peter T. Rakich, Steven G. Johnson, J. D. Joannopoulos, Erich P. Ippen & Henry I. Smith

  1. Centre for Materials Science and Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA

Correspondence to: Minghao Qi Email: mqi@alum.mit.edu

Photonic crystals1, 2, 3 offer unprecedented opportunities for miniaturization and integration of optical devices. They also exhibit a variety of new physical phenomena, including suppression or enhancement of spontaneous emission, low-threshold lasing, and quantum information processing4. Various techniques for the fabrication of three-dimensional (3D) photonic crystals—such as silicon micromachining5, wafer fusion bonding6, holographic lithography7, self-assembly8, 9, angled-etching10, micromanipulation11, glancing-angle deposition12 and auto-cloning13, 14—have been proposed and demonstrated with different levels of success. However, a critical step towards the fabrication of functional 3D devices, that is, the incorporation of microcavities or waveguides in a controllable way, has not been achieved at optical wavelengths. Here we present the fabrication of 3D photonic crystals that are particularly suited for optical device integration using a lithographic layer-by-layer approach15. Point-defect microcavities are introduced during the fabrication process and optical measurements show they have resonant signatures around telecommunications wavelengths (1.3–1.5 microm). Measurements of reflectance and transmittance at near-infrared are in good agreement with numerical simulations.

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