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Engineers tune a nanoscale grating structure to trap and release a variety of light waves
Date:2/17/2009

icrons in length (1 micron is one-millionth of a meter) and are suitable for security applications. Wavelengths in the telecommunications range of the spectrum measure 1330 to 1550 nanometers (1 nm is one-billionth of a meter) and are suitable for optical communications.

The three researchers reported their progress in a second PRL article, titled "Rainbow Trapping and Releasing at Telecommunication Wavelengths." The article was published in the journal's Feb. 6 issue.

In the current article, the researchers also address a phenomenon called loss in metals, in which the metal materials of a chip, instead of simply propagating light, also absorb it and dissipate it as heat. Metal loss occurs more strongly with telecommunications light waves than with THz light waves.

To use trapped light waves for telecommunications, says Gan, it is necessary to release them from the grating structure. Gan and his colleagues accomplished this by covering the structure with dielectric materials.

"By tuning the temperature of the dielectric materials, we were able to change the optical properties of the metal grating structure," he said. "This in turn enabled the trapped light waves to be released."

The Lehigh researchers describe their structure as a "metallic grating structure with graded depths, whose dispersion curves and cutoff frequencies are different at different locations." In appearance, the grating resembles the pipes of a pipe organ arranged side by side and decreasing gradually in length from one end of the assembly to the other. The degree of grade in the grating can be tuned by altering the temperature and modifying the physical features on the surface of the structure.

The structure arrests the progress of light waves at multiple locations on the surface and at different frequencies. Previous researchers, Gan says, had been able "to slow down one single wavelength within a narrow bandwidth, but not many wavelengths ov
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Contact: Kurt Pfitzer
kap4@lehigh.edu
610-758-3017
Lehigh University
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2 3

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