The quest for on-chip optical isolators has recently spawned many new isolator structures. However, there has been some confusion about the requirement of nonreciprocity. Here, we review the essential characteristics of an isolator.

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Author information

Affiliations

  1. Dirk Jalas, Alexander Petrov and Manfred Eich are at the Institute of Optical and Electronic Materials, Hamburg University of Technology, D-21073 Hamburg, Germany

    • Dirk Jalas
    • , Alexander Petrov
    •  & Manfred Eich
  2. Wolfgang Freude is at the Institute of Photonics and Quantum Electronics and Institute of Microstructure Technology, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, 76131 Karlsruhe, Germany

    • Wolfgang Freude
  3. Shanhui Fan and Zongfu Yu are at Ginzton Laboratory, Department of Electrical Engineering, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305, USA

    • Shanhui Fan
    •  & Zongfu Yu
  4. Roel Baets is at the Photonics Research Group, INTEC Department and Center for Nano- and Biophotonics, Ghent University-IMEC, B-9000 Gent, Belgium

    • Roel Baets
  5. Miloš Popović is at the Department of Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado 80302, USA

    • Miloš Popović
  6. Andrea Melloni is at Dipartimento di Elettronica, Informazione e Bioingegneria, Politecnico di Milano, 20133 Milano, Italy

    • Andrea Melloni
  7. John D. Joannopoulos is at the Department of Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA

    • John D. Joannopoulos
  8. Mathias Vanwolleghem is at Institut d'Electronique de Micro-electronique et de Nanotechnologie, CNRS, Université Lille 1, 59650 Villeneuve d'Ascq, France

    • Mathias Vanwolleghem
  9. Christopher R. Doerr is at Acacia Communications Inc., Three Clock Tower Place, Suite 210, Maynard, Massachusetts 01754, USA

    • Christopher R. Doerr
  10. Hagen Renner is at the Institute of Optical Communication Technology, Hamburg University of Technology, D-21073 Hamburg, Germany

    • Hagen Renner

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Competing interests

Christopher R. Doerr is working at Acacia Communications Inc.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Alexander Petrov.

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/nphoton.2013.185

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