Realization of three-dimensional guiding of photons in photonic crystals


Three-dimensional photonic crystals1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10 are expected to provide a fundamental building block for the realization of three-dimensional manipulation of photons. However, because of the lack of systematic design principles to precisely control bending and guiding in three dimensions, as well as advancements in the fabrication technology necessary for the realization of large-area, defect-free three-dimensional photonic crystals, the arbitrary three-dimensional manipulation of photons has yet to be demonstrated. Here, we develop a new design concept for three-dimensional waveguides and bends, and realize it experimentally in silicon three-dimensional photonic crystals. We demonstrate clear three-dimensional optical guiding phenomena, in which light is incident on the crystal from one side, is bent vertically and horizontally (and is even split into two or trapped by an intermediate nanocavity), and is finally emitted from the other side of the crystal. These results will open the door to the realization of three-dimensional optical chips with various functionalities.

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Figure 1: Fundamental waveguides for 3D light guiding.
Figure 2: Connection of individual waveguides to bend light.
Figure 3: Demonstration of light guiding in an oblique waveguide and connected oblique–horizontal–oblique waveguides.
Figure 4: Light guiding in sophisticated 3D guiding structures.


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The authors thank Y. Tanaka and T. Asano for fruitful discussions and helpful advice. This work was partly supported by JST, CREST, by Kyoto University G-COE, by a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research from JSPS, and by METI.

Author information

S.N. supervised the entire project. K.I. and M.K. analysed 3D guiding structures. K.I., together with K.S. and K.G., fabricated the samples. K.I., M.K. and K.G. measured the 3D optical guiding phenomena. S.N., K.I. and M.K. discussed the results. S.N and K.I. wrote the manuscript.

Correspondence to Susumu Noda.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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Ishizaki, K., Koumura, M., Suzuki, K. et al. Realization of three-dimensional guiding of photons in photonic crystals. Nature Photon 7, 133–137 (2013).

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