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Light Sculpts Three-Dimensional Crystals

Generation of Artificial Refractive Index Photonic Structures

Mar. 10, 2010
Creating photonic crystals by light itself is a wonderful example on how light matter interaction can be exploited, says Prof. Dr. Cornelia Denz, Director of the Institute for Applied Physics and Leader of the Center for Nonlinear Science, WWU. [Image: University of Muenster]
Creating photonic crystals by light itself is a wonderful example on how light matter interaction ... more

Engineering and guiding light by artificial structures is one of the most actual questions in photonics, allowing optical information processing to open new horizons for waveguiding, storing, and processing light. Three-dimensional structures have been a challenge up to now, either due to the complex formation method or the lack of appropriate material. Especially the creation complex quasi crystals that have a number of advantages features as e.g. better control of the transmission features by larger und more homogeneously distributed band gaps, is an actual challenge. A combined effort of researchers from "Institut für Angewandte Physik" and "Center for Nonlinear Science", Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster (WWU), Germany and Department of Physics, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, India, shines the way for a versatile approach to form complex 3D quasi-crystallographic photonic crystals structures formed by light. The researchers have experimentally demonstrated for the first time the creation of 3D photonic crystals and quasicrystals with a plethora of geometries and forms purely by the action of light in a nonlinear optical - so-called photorefractive- material, which allows reconfigurable as well as scalable crystal and quasicrystal formation.
By modifying a laser light beam by a spatial light modulator, and subsequently sculting a nonlinear optical material with this light structure, the research team could easily generate artificial refractive index photonic structures. Typically, neither any additional optical component nor manipulation of the experimental setup is involved while reconfiguring from one structure to another.
The research was partially funded by German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).

Original publication:
Xavier J. et al.: Reconfigurable Optically Induced Quasicrystallographic Three-Dimensional Complex Nonlinear Photonic Lattice Structures, Advanced Materials Vol.22, No.3, pp.356-360; DOI: 10.1002/adma.200901792

Keywords: 3D Crystals Center for Nonlinear Science Institut für Angewandte Physik Light Sculpts photorefractive- material quasicrystal formation Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster

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