Letter abstract


Nature Photonics 1, 57 - 60 (2007)
Published online: 21 December 2006 | doi:10.1038/nphoton.2006.41

Subject Category: Optoelectronic devices and components

Polarization-transparent microphotonic devices in the strong confinement limit

Tymon Barwicz1,2, Michael R. Watts1,3, Miloš A. Popović1, Peter T. Rakich1, Luciano Socci1,4, Franz X. Kärtner1, Erich P. Ippen1 & Henry I. Smith1


Microphotonic structures that strongly confine light, such as photonic crystals and micron-sized resonators, have unique characteristics that could radically advance technology1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. However, such devices cannot be used in most applications because of their inherent polarization sensitivity; they respond differently to light polarized along different axes7, 8, 9. To take advantage of the distinctive properties of these structures, a general, integrated, broadband solution to their polarization sensitivity is needed. Here, we show the first demonstration of such a solution. It enables arbitrary, polarization-sensitive, strong-confinement (SC) microphotonic devices to be rendered insensitive (transparent) to the input polarization at all wavelengths of operation. To test our approach, we create the first polarization-transparent add–drop filter from polarization-sensitive microring resonators. It shows almost complete elimination of polarization sensitivity over the 60-nm bandwidth measured, while maintaining outstanding filter performance. This development is a milestone for SC microphotonics, allowing the applications of photonic-crystal and microring devices to several areas, including communications, spectroscopy and remote sensing.

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  1. Research Laboratory of Electronics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 77 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA
  2. Present address: IBM T.J. Watson Research Center, Yorktown Heights, New York, USA
  3. Present address: Sandia National Laboratory, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA
  4. Permanent address: Pirelli Labs S.p.A, Milan, Italy

Correspondence to: Tymon Barwicz1,2 e-mail: tymon@alum.mit.edu



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