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.

  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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