Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Direct laser writing of three-dimensional photonic-crystal templates for telecommunications


The past decade has witnessed intensive research efforts related to the design and fabrication of photonic crystals1,2. These periodically structured dielectric materials can represent the optical analogue of semiconductor crystals, and provide a novel platform for the realization of integrated photonics. Despite intensive efforts, inexpensive fabrication techniques for large-scale three-dimensional photonic crystals of high enough quality, with photonic bandgaps at near-infrared frequencies, and built-in functional elements for telecommunication applications, have been elusive. Direct laser writing by multiphoton polymerization3 of a photoresist has emerged as a technique for the rapid, cheap and flexible fabrication of nanostructures for photonics. In 1999, so-called layer-by-layer4 or woodpile photonic crystals were fabricated with a fundamental stop band at 3.9 μm wavelength5. In 2002, a corresponding 1.9 μm was achieved6, but the important face-centred-cubic (f.c.c.) symmetry was abandoned. Importantly, fundamental stop bands or photonic bandgaps at telecommunication wavelengths have not been demonstrated. In this letter, we report the fabrication—through direct laser writing—and detailed characterization of high-quality large-scale f.c.c. layer-by-layer structures, with fundamental stop bands ranging from 1.3 to 1.7 μm.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Relevant articles

Open Access articles citing this article.

Access options

Rent or buy this article

Prices vary by article type



Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout

Figure 1: Three-dimensional photonic crystals fabricated by DLW.
Figure 2: Examples of different lattice constants.
Figure 3: Optical transmission spectra of samples with different in-plane rod spacings.
Figure 4: Comparison of experiment and simulation.
Figure 5: Angular dependence of photonic-crystal transmission.


  1. Yablonovitch, E. Inhibited spontaneous emission in solid state-physics and electronics. Phys. Rev. Lett. 58, 2059–2062 (1987).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  2. John, S. Strong localization of photons in certain disordered dielectric superlattices. Phys. Rev. Lett. 58, 2486–2489 (1987).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  3. Kawata, S., Sun, H.-B., Tanaka, T. & Takada, K. Finer features for functional microdevices. Nature 412, 697–698 (2001).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  4. Ho, K.-M., Chan, C.T., Soukoulis, C.M., Biswas, R. & Sigalas, M. Photonic band gaps in three dimensions: New layer-by-layer periodic structures. Solid State Comm. 89, 413–416 (1994).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  5. Sun, H.-B., Matsuo, S. & Misawa, H. Three-dimensional photonic crystal structures achieved with two-photon-absorption photopolymerization of resin. Appl. Phys. Lett. 74, 786–788 (1999).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  6. Straub, M. & Gu, M. Near-infrared photonic crystals with higher-order bandgaps generated by two-photon photopolymerization. Opt. Lett. 27, 1824–1826 (2002).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  7. Ho, K.-M., Chan, C.T. & Soukoulis, C.M. Existence of a photonic gap in periodic dielectric structures. Phys. Rev. Lett. 65, 3152–3155 (1990).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  8. Lin, S.Y. et al. A three-dimensional photonic crystal operating at infrared wavelengths. Nature 394, 251–253 (1998).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  9. Noda, S., Tomoda, K., Yamamoto, N. & Chutinan, A. Full three-dimensional photonic bandgap crystals at near-infrared wavelengths. Science 289, 604–606 (2000).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  10. Aoki K. et al. Microassembly of semiconductor three-dimensional.photonic crystals. Nature Mater. 2, 117–121 (2003).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  11. Blanco, A. et al. Large-scale synthesis of a silicon photonic crystal with a complete three-dimensional bandgap near 1.5 micrometres. Nature 405, 437–440 (2000).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  12. Vlasov, Y.A., Bo, X.-Z., Sturm, J.C. & Norris, D.J. On-chip natural assembly of silicon photonic bandgap crystals. Nature 414, 289–293 (2001).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  13. Busch, K. & John, S. Photonic band gap formation in certain self-organizing systems. Phys. Rev. E 58, 3896–3908 (1998).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  14. Campbell, M. et al. Fabrication of photonic crystals for the visible spectrum by holographic lithography. Nature 404, 53–56 (2000).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  15. Miklyaev, Yu.V. et al. Three-dimensional face-centered-cubic photonic crystal templates by laser holography: fabrication, optical characterization, and band-structure calculations. Appl. Phys. Lett. 82, 1284–1286 (2003).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  16. Biswas, R., Chan, C.T., Sigalas, M., Soukoulis, C.M. & Ho, K.-M. in Photonic Band Gap Materials (ed. Soukoulis, C.M.) 23–40 (NATO Science Series E, Vol. 315, Kluwer Academic, Dordrecht, 1996).

    Book  Google Scholar 

  17. Whittaker, D.M. & Culshaw, I.S. Scattering-matrix treatment of patterned multilayer photonic structures. Phys. Rev. B 60, 2610–2618 (1999).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  18. Li, L. Use of Fourier series in the analysis of discontinuous periodic structures. J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 13, 1870–1876 (1996).

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references


We acknowledge the support by the Center for Functional Nanostructures (CFN) of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) within project A.1.2 and A.1.4. The research of K.B. is further supported by DFG-project Bu 1107/2-3 (Emmy-Noether program), that of M.W. by the DFG-Leibniz award 2000 and that of C.M.S. by the Alexander von Humboldt senior-scientist award 2002, and by the US Department of Energy.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Costas M. Soukoulis.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Deubel, M., von Freymann, G., Wegener, M. et al. Direct laser writing of three-dimensional photonic-crystal templates for telecommunications. Nature Mater 3, 444–447 (2004).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

This article is cited by


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing