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Integrated flexible chalcogenide glass photonic devices

Nature Photonics volume 8, pages 643649 (2014) | Download Citation


Photonic integration on thin flexible plastic substrates is important for emerging applications ranging from the realization of flexible interconnects to conformal sensors applied to the skin. Such devices are traditionally fabricated using pattern transfer, which is complicated and has limited integration capacity. Here, we report a convenient monolithic approach to realize flexible, integrated high-index-contrast chalcogenide glass photonic devices. By developing local neutral axis designs and suitable fabrication techniques, we realize a suite of photonic devices including waveguides, microdisk resonators, add–drop filters and photonic crystals that have excellent optical performance and mechanical flexibility, enabling repeated bending down to sub-millimetre radii without measurable performance degradation. The approach offers a facile fabrication route for three-dimensional high-index-contrast photonics that are difficult to create using traditional methods.

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The authors thank S. Kozacik, M. Murakowski and D. Prather for assistance with device fabrication, N. Nguyen and M. Mackay for mechanical tests, N. Xiao and Y. Liu for assistance with optical measurement data processing, V. Singh for help with FIMMWAVE simulations and T. Gu and M. Haney for helpful discussions. L.L. acknowledges funding support from Delaware NASA/EPSCoR through a Research Infrastructure Development (RID) grant. H.L. and J.H. acknowledge funding support from the National Science Foundation (award no. 1200406). N.L. acknowledges start-up funding support from the Cockrell School of Engineering of the University of Texas, Austin. This work is based upon work supported in part by the National Science Foundation under cooperative agreement no. EEC-1160494. Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

Author information

Author notes

    • Lan Li
    • , Hongtao Lin
    •  & Shutao Qiao

    These authors contributed equally to this work


  1. Department of Materials Science and Engineering, University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware 19716, USA

    • Lan Li
    • , Hongtao Lin
    • , Yi Zou
    •  & Juejun Hu
  2. Centre for Mechanics of Solids, Structures and Materials, Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas 78712, USA

    • Shutao Qiao
    •  & Nanshu Lu
  3. College of Optics and Photonics, CREOL, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida 32816, USA

    • Sylvain Danto
    •  & Kathleen Richardson
  4. IRradiance Glass Inc., Orlando, Florida 32828, USA

    • Kathleen Richardson
    •  & J. David Musgraves


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L.L. and H.L. conducted material synthesis, optical modelling, device fabrication and testing. S.Q. and N.L. performed mechanics modelling and analysis. Y.Z. assisted with film deposition and device characterization. J.H. conceived the device and structural designs. S.D., J.D.M. and K.R. contributed to material synthesis. J.H., N.L. and K.R. supervised and coordinated the project. All authors contributed to writing the paper.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Juejun Hu.

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