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

Nature Photonicsvolume 12pages596600 (2018) | Download Citation


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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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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Author notes

  1. These authors contributed equally: Dunzhao Wei, Chaowei Wang, Huijun Wang, Xiaopeng Hu.


  1. National Laboratory of Solid State Microstructures, College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and School of Physics, and Collaborative Innovation Center of Advanced Microstructures, Nanjing University, Nanjing, China

    • Dunzhao Wei
    • , Huijun Wang
    • , Xiaopeng Hu
    • , Dan Wei
    • , Xinyuan Fang
    • , Yong Zhang
    • , Shining Zhu
    •  & Min Xiao
  2. CAS Key Laboratory of Mechanical Behavior and Design of Materials, Department of Precision Machinery and Precision Instrumentation, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, China

    • Chaowei Wang
    • , Dong Wu
    • , Yanlei Hu
    •  & Jiawen Li
  3. Department of Physics, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR, USA

    • Min Xiao


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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.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Dong Wu.

Supplementary information

  1. 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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