Letter abstract

Nature Photonics 3, 464 - 468 (2009)
Published online: 13 July 2009 | doi:10.1038/nphoton.2009.116

Subject Category: Fundamental optical physics

Tunable bipolar optical interactions between guided lightwaves

Mo Li1, W. H. P. Pernice1 & H. X. Tang1

State-of-the-art advances in nanoscale optomechanics allow light to be guided in free-standing waveguides or resonators1, 2. In closely spaced devices, the coupling between the guided lightwaves gives rise to an optical force known as the 'optical bonding force'3, 4, 5, 6. Indeed, attractive optical force has been observed in substrate coupled devices7. According to recent theoretical predictions3, the optical force should show bipolar behaviour depending on the relative phase between in-plane coupled lightwaves. So far, such an in-plane optical force has not been measured. Here, we experimentally demonstrate a bipolar optical force between planarly coupled nanophotonic waveguides. Both attractive and repulsive optical forces are obtained. The sign of the force can be switched reversibly by tuning the relative phase of the interacting lightwaves. This highly engineerable force of bipolar nature could be used as the operation principle for a new class of planar light force devices and circuits on a CMOS-compatible platform.

  1. Department of Electrical Engineering, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut 06511, USA

Correspondence to: H. X. Tang1 e-mail: hong.tang@yale.edu


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