A chirped photonic-crystal fibre


Photonic crystals have widely increased the facility to guide and confine light at wavelengths close to the optical wavelength1,2,3. Because they can include extremely sharp bends, photonic-crystal waveguides are a key element in future integrated optical devices4. Moreover, they enable the manipulation of the spontaneous emission properties of luminescent devices5, the localization of light in microcavities6, and they may serve to generate negative refraction7,8. A special class of these devices are the hollow-core photonic-crystal fibres9,10,11, which confine the light by means of a periodic cladding, consisting of several layers of identical cells. This design resonantly decreases the transmission losses of such fibres to values of a few dB km−1 in a narrow wavelength range. However, the rather narrowband transmission bands and the detrimental third-order dispersion characteristics of this single-cell design generally render application of such hollow-core fibres difficult in the femtosecond range12. Therefore, no fibre-based concept can currently provide guiding of sub-100 fs pulses over extended distances. By introducing a radial chirp into the photonic crystal, we here demonstrate a novel concept for photonic-crystal fibres that breaks with the paradigm of lattice homogeneity and enables a new degree of freedom in photonic-crystal-fibre design, eliminating much of the pulse duration restriction of earlier approaches.

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Figure 1: Concept of a chirped photonic-crystal fibre.
Figure 2: Fibre geometry.
Figure 3: Results of numerical simulations and optical characterization of the chirped hollow fibres.
Figure 4: Effect of geometry on pulse duration and effective nonlinearity.


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R.I. gratefully acknowledges financial support from the Carl Zeiss foundation. The authors gratefully acknowledge T. Elsaesser, Max Born Institute, Berlin, for his support and stimulating discussions.

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J.S.S. and V.I.B. designed and manufactured the fibre. R.I. numerically computed the propagation constants and mode fields of the different fibre geometries. J.B., M.B., and D.F. performed the optical characterization measurements. V.I.B., R.W., and G.S. conceived the original design of the fibre. G.S. performed the data analysis and wrote the draft of the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Günter Steinmeyer.

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Skibina, J., Iliew, R., Bethge, J. et al. A chirped photonic-crystal fibre. Nature Photon 2, 679–683 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1038/nphoton.2008.203

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