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Integrated flexible chalcogenide glass photonic devices


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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Figure 1: Flexible glass photonic device fabrication and mechanical reliability tests.
Figure 2: Strain–optical coupling in flexible photonic devices.
Figure 3: Adiabatic interlayer waveguide couplers.
Figure 4: Vertically coupled add–drop resonator filter.
Figure 5: 3D woodpile photonic crystals.


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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.

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Authors and Affiliations



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.

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Correspondence to Juejun Hu.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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Li, L., Lin, H., Qiao, S. et al. Integrated flexible chalcogenide glass photonic devices. Nature Photon 8, 643–649 (2014).

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