Experimental demonstration of a three-dimensional lithium niobate nonlinear photonic crystal


A nonlinear photonic crystal (NPC)1 possesses space-dependent second-order nonlinear coefficients, which can effectively control nonlinear optical interactions through quasi-phase matching2. Lithium niobate (LiNbO3) crystal is one of the most popular materials from which to fabricate NPC structures because of its excellent nonlinear optical properties3,4,5. One- and two-dimensional LiNbO3 NPCs have been widely utilized in laser frequency conversion6,7, spatial light modulation8,9,10,11,12 and nonlinear optical imaging13,14. However, limited by traditional poling methods, the experimental realization of three-dimensional (3D) NPCs remains one of the greatest challenges in the field of nonlinear optics1,15. Here, we present an experimental demonstration of a 3D LiNbO3 NPC by using a femtosecond laser to selectively erase the nonlinear coefficients in a LiNbO3 crystal16,17. The effective conversion efficiency is comparable to that of typical quasi-phase-matching processes. Such a 3D LiNbO3 NPC provides a promising platform for future nonlinear optical studies based on its unique ability to control nonlinear interacting waves in 3D configuration.

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Fig. 1: QPM mechanism in laser-engineered LiNbO3 crystal.
Fig. 2: Sample characterization.
Fig. 3: Demonstration of SHG processes in a 3D LiNbO3 NPC.
Fig. 4: Measured dependences of SH power on input parameters.


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This work was supported by the National Key R&D Program of China (2017YFA0303703, 2016YFA0302500 and 2018YFB1105400), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) (91636106, 11621091, 11674171, 11627810, 61475149, 61675190 and 51675503) and Youth Innovation Promotion Association CAS (2017495). The authors acknowledge J. Chu, X. Xu, Q. Wang, X. Hong, Y. Liang, S. Li, L. Zhang, Y. Cai, H. Xu, L. Zhang and X. Zhang for help with sample fabrication and characterization.

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Y.Z. conceived the idea. D.Z.W., C.W.W., H.J.W., X.P.H., D.W., X.Y.F., Y.L.H. and J.W.L. performed the experiments and numerical simulations under the guidance of Y.Z., D.W., S.N.Z. and M.X. Y.Z. and M.X. supervised the project. All authors contributed to the discussion of experimental results. D.Z.W., Y.Z. and M.X. wrote the manuscript with contributions from all co-authors.

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Correspondence to Dong Wu.

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Supplementary Information

This file contains additional information about the work, such as sample characterization, fabrication and optimization, and the physical mechanism of laser engineering in a LiNbO3 crystal

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Wei, D., Wang, C., Wang, H. et al. Experimental demonstration of a three-dimensional lithium niobate nonlinear photonic crystal. Nature Photon 12, 596–600 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41566-018-0240-2

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