PatentDe  


Dokumentenidentifikation EP1512994 16.05.2007
EP-Veröffentlichungsnummer 0001512994
Titel Photonenkristall-Wellenleiter
Anmelder Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp., Tokio/Tokyo, JP
Erfinder Notomi, Masaya NTT Intellectual Property Cen, Musashino-shi Tokyo 180-8585, JP;
Yamada, Koji NTT Intellectual Property Cente, Musashino-shi Tokyo 180-8585, JP;
Shinya, Akihiko NTT Intellectual Property Ce, Musashino-shi Tokyo 180-8585, JP;
Takahashi, Junichi NTT Intellectual Property Ce, Musashino-shi Tokyo 180-8585, JP;
Takahashi, Chiharu NTT Intellectual Property Ce, Musashino-shi Tokyo 180-8585, JP;
Yokohama, Itaru NTT Intellectual Property Cent, Musashino-shi Tokyo 180-8585, JP
Vertreter derzeit kein Vertreter bestellt
DE-Aktenzeichen 60127729
Vertragsstaaten DE, FR, GB
Sprache des Dokument EN
EP-Anmeldetag 21.12.2001
EP-Aktenzeichen 040288789
EP-Offenlegungsdatum 09.03.2005
EP date of grant 04.04.2007
Veröffentlichungstag im Patentblatt 16.05.2007
IPC-Hauptklasse G02B 6/122(2006.01)A, F, I, 20051017, B, H, EP

Beschreibung[en]
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a photonic crystal waveguide which can be used as a basic structure which forms photonic devices such as lasers and photonic ICs used for optical information processing, optical transmission and the like.

2. Description of the Related Art

In a conventional photonic device, since light confinement is carried out by using difference of refractive indices, a space for light confinement must be large. Therefore, the device can not be configured very small. In addition, when a steeply bent waveguide is used in order to increase the scale of integration of the device, scattering loss occurs. Thus, it is difficult to integrate photonic circuits and it is difficult to downsize the photonic device. As a result, the size of the photonic device is much larger than that of an electric device. Therefore, the photonic crystal is expected to be a new photonic material which can solve the above-mentioned problem, in which the photonic crystal can perform light confinement by a concept completely different from the conventional one.

The photonic crystal has an artificial multidimensional periodic structure in which periodicity, which is almost the same as light wavelength, is formed by using more than one kinds of mediums having different refractive indices, and the photonic crystal has a band structure of light similar to a band structure of electron. Therefore, forbidden band of light (photonic band-gap) appears in a specific structure so that the photonic crystal having the specific structure functions as a nonconductor for light.

It is theoretically known that, when a line defect which disturbs periodicity of the photonic crystal is included in the photonic crystal, an optical waveguide which completely confines light and has a waveguiding mode in a frequency region of the photonic band-gap can be realized (J. D. Joannopoulos, P.R.Villeneuve, and S.Fan, Photonic Crystal: putting a new twist on light, Nature 386,143(1997)). J. D. Joannopoulos and others applied a line defect in a two-dimensional photonic crystal in which cylindrical columns having large refractive index almost the same as that of a semiconductor are arranged on a square lattice of lattice constant "a" which is about light wavelength and the radius of each cylindrical column is a/5, and, J. D. Joannopoulos and others theoretically indicated that an optical waveguide having no scattering loss even when it is steeply bent can be realized. This waveguide can be very important for realizing a large scale integrated optical circuit.

In order to realize the optical waveguide for forming the large scale integrated optical circuit, it is necessary to realize a single waveguiding mode in the photonic band-gap frequency band. When a multi-mode waveguide having a plurality of modes is used as a bent waveguide, there is a problem, for example, in that a part of mode may be converted into a different mode in a bending part. Thus, the multi-mode waveguide can not be used as an effective bent waveguide necessary for realizing the large scale integrated optical circuit. That is the reason for requiring the single-mode. In addition, the multi-mode waveguide is not suitable for high-speed communication.

Some types of waveguides have been manufactured. In the various waveguides, waveguides using the two-dimensional photonic crystal is promising since it is very difficult to fabricate waveguides by a three-dimensional photonic crystal which has full band-gap.

When using the two-dimensional photonic crystal for the waveguide, it is necessary to confine light in the direction perpendicular to the two-dimensional plane. Several methods has been proposed as the method of light confinement. In the methods, using a two-dimensional photonic crystal slab on oxide cladding is preferable since a structure having a large area can be easily manufactured by the two-dimensional photonic crystal slab on oxide cladding and it is easy to add various function elements in the same structure. The two-dimensional photonic crystal slab on oxide cladding is based on a structure in which a thin semiconductor film of high refractive index (from 3 to 3.5) is deposited on a dielectric of low refractive index (oxide or polymer in many cases, the refractive index is about 1.5).

In addition, a substrate called Silicon-On-Insulator (SOI) substrate is being applied to LSIs, and high-quality SOI substrate can be manufactured in recent years. The SOI substrate is formed by providing a silicon (Si) thin-film on silica (SiO2). By using the SOI substrate, there is a merit that the two-dimensional photonic crystal slab on oxide cladding having high quality can be easily manufactured. The merit can not be obtained by using other structures (for example, two-dimensional photonic crystal air-bridge slab in which cladding of both sides is air).

As mentioned above, the two-dimensional photonic crystal slab on oxide cladding has the advantage of being easier to manufacture than the two-dimensional photonic crystal air-bridge slab and the like. However, the structure has following problems so that the single waveguiding mode was not realized in the photonic band-gap frequency band according to the conventional structure.

In waveguiding modes generated by the line defect in the optical waveguide of the two-dimensional photonic crystal slab, light is strongly confined in the directions of the two-dimensional plane by the photonic band-gap and scattering loss does not exist in the directions. However, light is generally leaky in a high frequency region above a light line of cladding, that is, the light may be leaked to the cladding. (The light line represents the lowest frequency, with respect to propagation constant, by which light can transmit in the cladding, and, the light line can be represented by a line defined by w=ck/n (w: angular frequency, c: light speed, n: refractive index, k: wave number).) Therefore, it is customary to use a low frequency region below the light line such that the waveguide light does not leak to cladding layers of both sides.

Figs.1A and 1B are schematic diagrams of a structure of a single missing-hole line defect photonic crystal waveguide of a typical air-hole type according to a conventional technology. Fig.1A shows a top view and Fig.1B shows a B-B' section view. The conventional single missing-hole line defect photonic crystal waveguide can be also called as a normal two-dimensional photonic crystal slab waveguide in this specification. In Figs.1A and 1B, 5 indicates an optical waveguide part, 2 indicates an Si layer, 3 indicates an SiO2 layer which is a cladding layer, and 4 indicates an air-hole triangle lattice point, in which the lattice constant is represented as "a". Each air-hole is a cylindrical column or a polygon column which penetrates the Si layer 2. The diameter of the air-hole is 0.215 µm in this example. In the air-hole triangle lattice, the air-hole is placed in each lattice point of the triangle lattice. The triangle lattice is a regular lattice in which lattice points are placed on vertices of regular triangles which are arranged over the two-dimensional plane.

As representative two-dimensional photonic crystals having the photonic band-gap, there are two structures. One is a structure in which columns of high refractive index are provided in air. Another is a structure in which air-holes are provided in a high refractive index layer like the above-mentioned example. (The air-hole can be also called a low refractive index column or a low refractive index cylindrical column.) The former structure, which was used by J. D. Joannopoulos and others, requires a cladding layer for supporting the.columns. Since the refractive index of the cladding layer is larger than that of the air which is a core for the line defect waveguide, very long columns are necessary for preventing light leakage to the upper and lower sides so that manufacturing such structure becomes very difficult. On the other hand, as for the latter structure, since the air-hole can stand by itself, the cladding layer can be freely chosen, and it is easy to determine a core having refractive index larger than that of the cladding layer. Thus, limitation on manufacturing is small so that it is easy to select structural condition that light hardly leak to the upper and lower sides.

In addition, although the holes can be placed on the two-dimensional plane of the high refractive index plate of the photonic crystal in various way, a structure in which the holes (cylindrical columns or polygon columns) are arranged in a triangle lattice pattern is known to have the photonic band-gap ranging over a wide frequency band. This means that this structure functions as a nonconductor for light in wide frequency band. This structure is preferable since frequency can be selected from wide rage frequencies when designing a waveguide.

Fig.2 shows a dispersion relation of waveguiding modes of a conventional typical single missing-hole line defect photonic crystal waveguide. When such waveguide is formed by using the two-dimensional photonic crystal slab on oxide cladding, the waveguiding modes become as shown in Fig.2. In the figure, normalized frequency represented by (lattice constant/wavelength) which is a dimensionless number is used. In addition, normalized propagation constant represented by (wave number×lattice constant/2&pgr;) is used. The light line of the cladding (SiO2, refractive index 1.46) is also shown in Fig.2.

In the conventional structure shown in Fig.2, the waveguiding mode which satisfies the condition that light does not leak to the cladding layer is only in a region circled by an ellipse which is below the light line. However, inclination of the waveguiding mode in the region is very small so that group velocity (energy propagation velocity) of the waveguiding mode, which is determined depending on the inclination, is very small. There are many problems for using the waveguide having the waveguiding mode of very small group velocity since time for light transmission becomes long. In addition, since heterogeneity exist in an actual structure to some extent, the mode of very small group velocity is affected by the heterogeneity so that light may not propagate. In addition, in the mode above the light line (high frequency region), light can not propagate since diffraction loss in the photonic crystal is too large. That is, light in the photonic crystal waveguide propagates while being perturbed by periodic structure of the photonic crystal, and light leaks to the cladding layer by diffraction loss in the mode above the light line

The inventors actually manufactured the conventional single missing-hole line defect photonic crystal waveguide. However, light propagation was not detected at all. The cause of the problem is that there is no realistically usable waveguiding mode which has a group velocity which is not too small below the light line, and that the diffraction loss is very large in the region above the light line.

In order to use the mode below the light line, it is necessary to move the light line upward or to move the waveguiding mode appropriately in the graph of Fig.2. However, as long as the oxide cladding structure is used, since the position of the light line is determined by the refractive index of the cladding, the position of the light line can not be changed largely. As for the waveguiding mode, as long as the single-mode within the band-gap should be used, it is difficult to obtain a waveguiding mode having large group velocity below the light line by using the structure shown in Fig.1. As for crystal structures other than the triangle lattice such as square lattice, it is more difficult to obtain such waveguiding mode. Therefore, it is very difficult to use waveguiding modes below the light line.

The conventional technology will be described further from another viewpoint in the following.

Figs.3A-3C are figures for explaining the conventional single missing-hole line defect photonic crystal waveguide (optical waveguide). Fig.3A shows a top view of the optical waveguide, Fig.3B shows an A-A' section view, and Fig.3C shows a B-B' section view.

In Fig.3A, the optical waveguide 30 includes dielectric thin-film slab 31 (which corresponds to the above-mentioned high refractive index plate) sandwiched between a top cladding layer 36 and a bottom cladding layer 37. A photonic crystal structure is formed in the dielectric thin-film slab 31 by providing low refractive index cylindrical columns 35 having lower refractive index than that of the dielectric thin-film slab 31 in a triangle lattice pattern. In addition, one line of the low refractive index cylindrical columns 35 is replaced by a dielectric having the same refractive index as the dielectric thin-film slab 31 such that the part of the one line can be used as an optical waveguide part 32. Arrows ←→ in the optical waveguide part 32 indicate optical propagation directions. The waveguide shown in Fig.1 is an example of a structure shown in Fig.3 in which the top cladding layer 36 and the low refractive index cylindrical column 35 are air, the bottom cladding layer 37 is SiO2, and the dielectric thin-film slab 31 is Si.

Here, it is assumed that refractive indices of the dielectric thin-film slab 31, the low refractive index cylindrical column 35, the top cladding layer 36 and the bottom cladding layer 37 are n1=3.5, n2=1.0, n3=n4=1.46 respectively, and that radius of the low refractive index cylindrical column 35 is 0.275a and thickness of the dielectric thin-film slab 31 is 0.50a, in which "a" represents the lattice constant (triangle lattice in this example) of the photonic crystal. The low refractive index cylindrical column 35 having the refractive index 1.0 is the same as an air-hole. Characteristics of the optical waveguide 30 will be described in the following.

These refractive indices of the optical waveguide 30 correspond to those of Si, air (vacuum) and SiO2 which are often used for forming waveguides targeted for infrared light for optical communication having a wavelength about 1.55µm.

Since a relative dielectric constant corresponds to a square of refractive index, "relative dielectric constant" or "dielectric constant" can be used instead of "refractive index" in this specification.

Figs.4A-4C are figures for explaining waveguiding modes of the above-mentioned optical waveguide. Fig.4A shows dispersion curves of waveguiding modes which can propagate through the optical waveguide part. The dispersion curves of waveguiding modes are obtained by using a plane wave expansion method (R.D.Meade et al.,Physical Review B 48,8434(1993)) to which periodic boundary condition is applied. This figure is similar to Fig.2. Fig. 4B. shows magnetic field component perpendicular to the dielectric thin-film slab according to a mode 1 in Fig.4A, and Fig.4C shows magnetic field component perpendicular to the dielectric thin-film slab according to a mode 2 in Fig.4A.

Each amount in Fig.4A is normalized by the lattice constant or speed of light c. The diagonally shaded regions correspond to the outside of photonic band-gap. (J D. JoannoPoulos, R D. Meade,J N.Winn, "Photonic Crystals", Princeton University Press, Princeton (1995)), that is, the diagonally shaded areas show regions in which light can not be confined in the optical waveguide part 32 (A.Mekis et al.,Physical Review B 58,4809(1998)).

In the vertical line hatching region, power of light confinement caused by difference of refractive indices between the dielectric thin-film slab 31 and the top cladding layer 36/bottom cladding layer 37 is weakened so that light can not be confined in the optical waveguide part 32 (S G. Johnson et al., Physical Review B 60,5751 (1999)). The vertical line hatching region corresponds to the before-mentioned above region of the light line. That is, a region to be considered used for the waveguide is only a white region in Fig.4A.

As is understood by the figure, two waveguiding modes 1 and 2 exist in the white region of the conventional optical waveguide 30. Further waveguiding modes may exist when the band-gap is wider, however, the two modes 1 and 2 will be considered here for the sake of simplicity. The mode 1 corresponds to the mode circled by the ellipse in Fig.2, and the mode 2 corresponds to the mode of upper dotted line.

In these two modes 1 and 2, the mode 1 in the low frequency side generally has magnetic field distribution shown in Fig.4B, and the mode 2 in the high frequency side generally has magnetic field distribution shown in Fig.4C.

In these waveguiding modes 1 and 2, the mode 1 is practical since the mode 1 has electric field distribution almost the same as that of a general single-mode waveguide. On the other hand electric field distribution of the mode 2 is largely different from that of the general signal-mode waveguide. Therefore, it is difficult to conduct light from an outside circuit by using the mode 2. That is, the mode 2 is not a practical waveguiding mode. In addition, in the same way, it is clear, from general argument of waveguide, that waveguiding modes of higher frequency side which appears when the band-gap is wide is not practical since the waveguiding mode is largely different from that of the general single-mode waveguide.

Thus, the mode 1 is used for the conventional waveguide. However, as is known from Fig.4A, since the frequency hardly change even when the propagation constant change in this mode 1, the mode 1 has a defect that usable frequency band is very small. In this example, the frequency band is about 1%.

The fact that the frequency hardly change even when the propagation constant change means that the group velocity of the waveguiding mode is very low. Therefore, the conventional waveguide has a defect that transmission time becomes very long, and propagation loss due to absorption and scattering loss in waveguide becomes large.

International patent application WO 98/53350 an optical waveguide in a photonic crystal wherein a single rod is shifted from its regular lattice position in order to form a beam splitter region.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

An object of the present invention is to solve the above-mentioned problems in the photonic crystal waveguide and to provide a two-dimensional photonic crystal slab waveguide allowing single-mode transmission in which group velocity is increased and propagation loss is decreased.

The above object can be achieved by a two-dimensional photonic crystal slab waveguide according to claim 1.

Also according to the invention, an optical waveguide which can form a single waveguiding mode having large group velocity below the light line can be provided. The dielectric cylindrical or polygon columns, or the dielectric columns are low refractive index columns having lower refractive index than that of the dielectric thin-film slab.

In the two-dimensional photonic crystal slab waveguide, a first diameter of the dielectric columns in the optical waveguide part may be different from a second diameter of other dielectric columns located in parts other than the optical waveguide part, and the first diameter is a value by which the dielectric columns does not contact with the other dielectric columns.

In addition, in the two-dimensional photonic crystal slab waveguide, positions of dielectric columns which form one line of the lattice of two-dimensional photonic crystal slab for an optical waveguide part may be shifted in an optical propagation direction by a half of the lattice constant of the normal two-dimensional photonic crystal slab.

That is, each dielectric column of dielectric columns in the optical waveguide part may be apart from a position at which the each dielectric column should be positioned in the normal two-dimensional photonic crystal slab by a half of the lattice constant of the normal two-dimensional photonic crystal slab.

In the two-dimensional photonic crystal slab waveguide, the dielectric cylindrical or polygon columns may be arranged in a triangle lattice pattern having a lattice constant "a", a radius or a half-breadth of the dielectric cylindrical or polygon columns is from 0.2a to 0.45a, and the radius or half-breadth is determined such that the dielectric cylindrical or polygon columns do not contact with dielectric columns in the optical waveguide part.

In the two-dimensional photonic crystal slab waveguide, a refractive index of the dielectric thin-film slab may be from 3.0 to 4.5, and each of refractive indices of parts other than the dielectric thin-film slab may be from 1.0 to 1.7.

In addition, in the two-dimensional photonic crystal slab waveguide, the dielectric cylindrical or polygon columns may be arranged in a square lattice pattern having a lattice constant "a", a radius or a half-breadth of the dielectric cylindrical or polygon columns is from 0.35a to 0.45a, and the radius or half-breadth is determined such that wherein the dielectric cylindrical or polygon columns do not contact with dielectric columns in the optical waveguide part.

Further, in the two-dimensional photonic crystal slab waveguide, silicon, germanium, gallium arsenide base compound, indium phosphide base compound, or indium antimony base compound may be used as a material of the dielectric thin-film slab, and silica, polyimide base organic compound, epoxy base organic compound, acrylic base organic compound, air or vacuum may be used as a material of parts other than the dielectric thin-film slab.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Other objects, features and advantages of the present invention will become more apparent from the following detailed description when read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:

  • Figs.1A and 13 are schematic diagrams of a structure of a single missing-hole line defect photonic crystal waveguide of a typical air-hole type according to a conventional technology, in which Fig.1A shows a top view and Fig.1B shows a B-B' section view;
  • Fig.2 shows a dispersion relation of waveguiding modes of a conventional typical single missing-hole line defect photonic crystal waveguide;
  • Figs.3A-3C are figures for explaining the conventional single missing-hole line defect photonic crystal waveguide (optical waveguide), in which Fig.3A shows a top view of the optical waveguide, Fig. 3B shows an A-A' section view, and Fig. 3C shows a B-B' section view;
  • Figs.4A-4C are figures for explaining waveguiding modes of the conventional single missing-hole line defect photonic crystal waveguide;
  • Figs. 5A-5C are figures for explaining about mode calculation of the two-dimensional photonic crystal waveguide;
  • Figs. 6A-6B are figures for explaining a two-dimensional photonic crystal slab waveguide of an example 1, in which Fig. 6A shows a top view of the optical waveguide and Fig. 6B shows an A-A' section view;
  • Figs. 7A-7C are figures for explaining waveguide modes in the photonic crystal waveguide in the example 1;
  • Figs. 8A-8B are figures for explaining a two-dimensional photonic crystal slab waveguide of an example 2, in which Fig. 8A shows a top view of the optical waveguide and Fig. 8B shows an A-A' section view.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The optical waveguide in the embodiments is structured such that, in a two-dimensional photonic crystal slab waveguide a line defect is formed by changing the radius of a part of holes in a lattice structure of a two-dimensional photonic crystal slab. By forming the waveguide in this way, a structure having low loss and large group velocity, and enablying a single waveguiding mode can be realized while light confinement is performed by using photonic band-gap and differences of refractive indices.

The two-dimensional photonic crystal slab is a photonic crystal in which dielectric cylindrical or polygon columns having lower refractive index than that of a dielectric thin-film slab are provided in the dielectric thin-film slab in a two-dimensional lattice pattern, and the dielectric thin-film slab is sandwiched by a top cladding layer and a bottom cladding layer which have lower refractive index than that of said dielectric thin-film slab. The top or bottom cladding layer and/or the dielectric cylindrical or polygon columns may be air or vacuum.

In the following, embodiments of the present invention will be described.

In the following, a calculation method of waveguiding mode dispersion curves which are used for explanation of the present invention will be described.

The dispersion curve can be obtained by analyzing the Maxwell equation by using a calculation method called FDTD method (Finite-difference Time-domain method). In the following, the analyzing method will be described.

First, analysis on electron band structure in ordinary crystals and the like will be described.

A periodic structure like crystal can be represented by repetition of a unit cell. It is well known that the field in such structure becomes Bloch wave. In band analysis, periodic boundary condition satisfying Bloch condition is applied to boundary of unit cells and fields which satisfies the condition are extracted as eigenmodes. At this time, the subject to be analyzed is Schrödinger equation. Since distribution of spatial potential is different according to material, various band structures may exist. This idea is applied to the photonic crystal which is a periodic dielectric structure. However, since the subject is light instead of electron, the equation to be considered is the Maxwell equation and refractive index (dielectric constant) distribution is used for calculation instead of potential distribution.

Next, a method of extracting the eigenmode by using the FDTD method will be described. By the FDTD method, the Maxwell equation is discretized in time and space into finite-difference equations, and electromagnetic field of light propagating in the structure (space distribution of the refractive index) is obtained by sequential calculation. That is, the FDTD method is not a method for directly obtaining the eigenvalue. However, the method can obtain modes of a given structure in the following way.

First, a proper initial field is given in the structure. After performing the sequential calculation, fields applicable for the structure survive and other fields are not selected. By performing Fourier conversion on time variation of the field, frequency spectrum can be obtained. When there is a field applicable for the structure, a peak appears in the frequency spectrum. Since the Bloch condition used in the calculation is a function of wave number, the frequency at which the peak appears becomes a function of wave number. The band figure of the photonic crystal can be obtained by showing the function.

Next, mode calculation of the two-dimensional photonic crystal waveguide will be described. Basically, the same calculation as the above-mentioned one is performed. However, in the photonic crystal used in the present invention, the line defect is incorporated in the inside of the crystal so that the periodicity is disturbed in the direction perpendicular to the line defect. Therefore, a structure shown in Figs. 5A- 5C is used as the unit cell. That is, the periodic boundary condition which satisfies the Bloch condition is applied in the propagation direction of the light. In the direction perpendicular to the light propagation direction, periodic structure is realized by using mirror boundary in which waveguides are placed such that large interference does not occur, and a region for absorbing leaking light which does not become a mode is provided in the thickness direction.

Fig. 5A shows the structure of Fig. 1. Fig. 5B is a magnified view of a part in a dotted line box of Fig. 5A, and Fig. 5C shows stereoscopic view of the structure of Fig. 5B which is the unit cell of the photonic crystal waveguide. The wave number - frequency graph can be obtained by solving the Maxwell equation by the FDTD method for the unit cell. The graph is the dispersion curve described in this specification.

In this calculation, a mode other than the eigenmode can be picked up as a peak of the spectrum if the mode exists for a long time in the waveguide. Therefore, analysis for the leaky mode which is above the light line of the cladding layer becomes available. This feature of this method is an advantage point which can not be obtained by other eigenvalue analysis methods. This superiority is applied in this invention. In addition, since lifetime of waveguiding modes in the waveguide can' be calculated according to this calculation method, theoretical propagation loss can be presented by using group velocity (energy propagation velocity) obtained by the dispersion curve.

<First embodiment>

Next, the embodiment of the present invention will be described by using examples 1-2.

In this embodiment, frequency, group velocity and the like of waveguiding modes can be improved by providing low refractive index cylindrical columns or low refractive index polygon columns in the optical waveguide part of the conventional optical waveguide described in Figs. 3 and 4.

(Example 1)

Figs. 6A-6B are figures for explaining a two-dimensional photonic crystal slab waveguide of the example 1. Fig. 6A shows a top view of the optical waveguide, Fig 6B shows an A-A' section view.

That is, the structure of this embodiment is formed such that cylindrical columns of dielectric having lower refractive index than that of the dielectric thin-film slab is placed in a triangle lattice pattern, and that a single line of the columns in the optical waveguide part 12 in the optical waveguide 10 is moved by a half distance of the period (lattice constant) of the triangle lattice in the propagation direction. In addition, the radius of the columns placed in the moved position is changed as necessary according to optical waveguide characteristics.

Here, as an example, it is assumed that refractive indices of the dielectric thin-film slab 11, the low refractive index column 15, the top cladding layer 16 and the bottom cladding layer 17 and the low refractive index column A13 are n1=3.5, n2=1.0, n3=n4=1.46, n5=1.0 respectively, and that radius of the low refractive index column 15 is 0.275a and thickness of the dielectric thin-film slab 11 is 0.50a, the radius of the low refractive index column A13 placed in the optical waveguide part 12 is 0.225a. Characteristics of the optical waveguide 10 will be described in the following.

Figs. 7A-7C are figures for explaining waveguiding modes in the photonic crystal waveguide in the example 1. Fig. 7A shows dispersion curves of waveguiding modes. fig 7B shows magnetic field component perpendicular to the dielectric thin-film slab in modes 1 and 2 shown in Fig 7A, and Fig 7C shows magnetic field component perpendicular to the dielectric thin-film slab in a mode 3 shown in Fig. 7A.

In this case, Fig. 7A shows dispersion curves of waveguiding modes which can pass through the optical waveguide part 12. As shown in Fig. 7A, three waveguiding modes exist. As shown in Fig. 7B, electromagnetic field distribution of the mode 1 and mode 2 which are first and second modes from low frequency side is similar to that of a general single-mode waveguide. Especially, in the second mode (mode 2), change amount of frequency with respect to propagation constant is large in the whole effective propagation constant region. As a result, effective frequency band is enlarged to about 4.7% and the group velocity increases.

When this structure is applied to infrared light for optical communication near 1.55µm, and, when Si is used for the dielectric thin-film slab 11, air (or vacuum) is used for the low refractive index column 15 and for the low refractive index column A13, and SiO2 is used for the other parts, the period of the triangle lattice becomes about 0.42µm, the radius of the low refractive index columns 15 becomes about 0.115µm, the radius of the low refractive index column A13 placed in the optical waveguide part 12 becomes about 0.094µm. This structure having these values can be manufactured by using a conventional semiconductor processing technology.

In this example, although the radius of the low refractive index column A13 placed in the moved position in the optical waveguide part 12 is 0.225a, it is obvious that frequency band or group velocity can be changed by changing the radius. Considering the structure of the optical waveguide 10, that is, considering a range in which the low refractive index columns A13 placed in the optical waveguide part 12 and other low refractive-index columns do not contact with each other, it is practical that the radius of the low refractive index column A13 is about 0.1 - 0.4 times of the minimum width of the optical waveguide part 12.

In addition, although the cylindrical columns of low refractive index are provided in a triangle lattice pattern in order to form the photonic crystal in the outside of the optical waveguide part 12, polygon columns such as rectangle columns or hexagonal columns can be used instead of the cylindrical columns and same effects can be obtained. In addition, as for the range of the radius of the cylindrical columns or the polygon columns, the same effect can be obtained within a range in which photonic band-gap can exist. When refractive index of the dielectric thin-film slab is about from 3.0 to 4.5 and refractive index of the low refractive index parts is from about 1 to about 1.7, the radius of the columns is about from 0.2a to 0.45a, and it is more practical and effective that the radius of the columns is from 0.275a to 0.375a.

In addition, although cylindrical columns are used for the low refractive index columns A13 which are placed in a moved position in the optical waveguide part 12 in the above-mentioned example, same effect can be obtained when ellipse columns or polygon columns are used instead of the cylindrical columns.

In addition, the refractive index of the columns for forming the photonic crystal, the refractive index of the cladding, and the refractive index of the columns in the optical waveguide part may be the same or may be different as long as they are lower than that of the dielectric thin-film slab. In any case, the same effect can be obtained.

As for materials, when infrared light for communication near 1.55µm wavelength is used as waveguide light, silicon, germanium, gallium arsenide base compound, indium phosphide base compound, indium antimony base compound and the like can be used as the material of the dielectric thin-film slab which has high refractive index, can transmit infrared light and has few problem in manufacturability and stability. The refractive index of the materials is about from 3.0 to 4.5. In addition, silica, polyimide base organic compound, epoxy base organic compound, acrylic base organic compound, air and vacuum and the like can be used as the material of the parts other than the dielectric thin-film slab which has low refractive index, can transmit infrared light and has few problem in manufacturability and stability. The refractive index of these materials is about from 1.0 to 1.7.

The two-dimensional photonic crystal slab waveguide of the embodiment can be manufactured by using the Silicon-On-Insulator (SOI) substrate.

(Example 2)

Figs. 8A-8B are figures for explaining a two-dimensional photonic crystal slab waveguide of the example 2. Fig 8A shows a top view of the optical waveguide, Fig. 8B shows an A-A' section view.

In the example 1, although low refractive index region of cylindrical columns or polygon columns is provided in the outside of the optical waveguide part 12 in the triangle lattice pattern in order to realize the photonic crystal, same effect can be obtained by using a square lattice pattern as shown in Fig. 8A instead of the triangle lattice pattern. That is, in a structure in which low refractive index columns 25 having lower refractive index than that of the dielectric thin-film slab 21 are provided in the square lattice pattern and the dielectric thin-film slab 21 is sandwiched by a top cladding layer 26 and a bottom cladding layer 27 having lower refractive index than that of the dielectric thin-film slab 21, a single line of the low refractive index columns 25 which exists in a part to become an optical waveguide part 22 is placed in a position moved by a half distance of the lattice constant of the square lattice from the normal lattice position in the optical propagation direction, in addition, the radius of the moved low refractive index columns is changed as necessary according to waveguide characteristics.

The range of the radius of the low refractive index columns for providing the photonic crystal can be a range which allows existence of photonic band-gap. According to theoretical calculation.by the plane wave expansion method, when the refractive index of the dielectric thin-film slab 21 is about from 3 to 4.5, and the refractive index of the other parts is about from 1 to 1.7, the radius of the low refractive index column's 25 is about from 0.35a to 0.45a.

In addition, matters on improvement of waveguide characteristics, shape of the low refractive index column, refractive index of each part, and material of each part described in the example 3-1 hold true in this example since the principle is the same between the examples.

<Effect of the present invention>

As mentioned above, the two-dimensional photonic crystal slab waveguide of present invention is formed by shifting positions of low refractive index columns which form one line of the lattice of the two-dimensional photonic crystal slab in the optical propagation direction, or, in addition to that, by changing the radius of the columns, it becomes possible to provide an optical waveguide which can form a single waveguiding mode having large group velocity below the light line.

Therefore, according to the present invention, microminiaturized optical waveguide structure which improves group velocity and has small loss can be provided.

The present invention is not limited to the specifically disclosed embodiments, and variations and modifications may be made without departing from the scope of the invention.


Anspruch[de]
Zwei-dimensionaler photonischer Kristallplatten-Wellenleiter, in dem dielektrische zylindrische oder vieleckige Spalten mit einem niedrigeren Brechungsindex als der einer dielektrischen Dünnfilm-Platte in der dielektrischen Dünnfilmplatte in einem zwei-dimensionalen Gittermuster bereitgestellt sind und die dielektrische Dünnfilm-Platte mit einer oberen Hüllschicht und einer unteren Hüllschicht gestapelt ist, die einen niedrigeren Brechungsindex als den der dielektrischen Dünnfilm-Platte aufweisen, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass: die dielektrischen Spalten, die eine Zeile des Gitters bilden, in einem optischen Wellenleiterteil in dem zwei-dimensionalen, photonischen Kristallplatten-Wellenleiter an Position lokalisiert sind, die in einer optischen Ausbreitungsrichtung von Positionen verschoben sind, bei denen dielektrische Spalten positioniert sein sollten, falls das zwei-dimensionale Gittermuster zwei-dimensional im Wellenleiterbereich nicht geändert worden wäre. Zwei-dimensionaler photonischer Kristallplatten-Wellenleiter nach Anspruch 1, wobei: ein erster Durchmesser der dielektrischen Spalten in dem optischen Wellenleiterteil unterschiedlich zu einem zweiten Durchmesser der anderen dielektrischen Spalten ist, die in anderen Teilen als dem optischen Wellenleiterteil lokalisiert sind, und der erste Durchmesser ein Wert ist, bei dem sich die dielektrischen Spalten nicht mit anderen dielektrischen Spalten berühren. Zwei-dimensionaler photonischer Kristallplatten-Wellenleiter nach Anspruch 1, wobei jede dielektrische Spalte der dielektrischen Spalten in dem optischen Wellenleiterteil von einer Position um eine Hälfte der Gitterkonstante der normalen, zwei-dimensionalen, photonischen Kristallplatte getrennt ist, bei der jede dielektrische Spalte in der normalen zwei-dimensionalen photonischen Kristallplatte positioniert sein sollte. Zwei-dimensionaler photonischer Kristallplatten-Wellenleiter nach Anspruch 1, wobei die dielektrischen zylindrischen oder vieleckigen Spalten in einem Dreiecks-Gittermuster angeordnet sind, das eine Gitterkonstante "a" aufweist, ein Radius oder eine Halb-Breite der dielektrischen zylindrischen oder vieleckigen Spalten von 0,2a bis 0,45a liegt und der Radius oder die Halb-Breite derart bestimmt wird, dass die dielektrischen zylindrischen oder vieleckigen Spalten sich nicht mit dielektrischen Spalten in dem optischen Wellenleiterteil berühren. Zwei-dimensionaler photonischer Kristallplatten-Wellenleiter nach Anspruch 4, wobei

ein Brechungsindex der dielektrischen Dünnfilm-Platte zwischen 3,0 bis 4,5 liegt und jeder Brechungsindex von anderen Teilen als die dielektrische Dünnfilmplatte zwischen 1,0 bis 1,7 liegt.
Zwei-dimensionaler photonischer Kristallplatten-Wellenleiter nach Anspruch 1, wobei die dielektrischen zylindrischen oder vieleckigen Spalten in einem quadratischen Gittermuster angeordnet sind, das eine Gitterkonstante "a" aufweist, ein Radius oder eine Halb-Breite der dielektrischen zylindrischen oder vieleckigen Spalten zwischen 0,35a bis 0,45a liegt und der Radius oder die Halb-Breite derart bestimmt wird, dass die dielektrischen zylindrischen oder vieleckigen Spalten sich nicht mit dielektrischen Spalten in dem optischen Wellenleiterteil berühren. Zwei-dimensionaler photonischer Kristallplatten-Wellenleiter nach Anspruch 6, wobei: ein Brechungsindex der dielektrischen Dünnfilmplatte zwischen 3,0 bis 4,5 liegt und jeder Brechungsindex von andern Teilen als die dielektrische Dünnfilmplatte zwischen 1,0 bis 1,7 liegt. Zwei-dimensionaler photonischer Kristallplatten-Wellenleiter nach Anspruch 1, wobei: Silizium, Germanium, eine Gallium-Arsenid-Basisverbindung, eine Indium-Phosphid-Basisverbindung oder eine Indium-Antimon-Basisverbindung als ein Material der dielektrischen Dünnfilmplatte verwendet wird und Siliziumdioxid, eine Polyimid-Basis organische Verbindung, eine Epoxid-Basis organische Verbindung, eine Acryl-Basis organische Verbindung, Luft oder Vakuum als ein Material der anderen Teile als die dielektrische Dünnfilmplatte verwendet wird. Zwei-dimensionaler photonischer Kristallplatten-Wellenleiter nach Anspruch 8, wobei der zwei-dimensionale photonische Kristallplatten-Wellenleiter nach Anspruch 8, wobei der zwei-dimensionale photonische Kristallplatten-Wellenleiter durch Verwenden eines Silizium-auf-Isolator-Substrats (SOI-Substratt) gebildet wird.
Anspruch[en]
A two-dimensional photonic crystal slab waveguide in which dielectric cylindrical or polygon columns having lower refractive index than that of a dielectric thin-film slab are provided in said dielectric thin-film slab in a two-dimensional lattice pattern, and said dielectric thin-film slab is sandwiched by a top cladding layer and a bottom cladding layer which have lower refractive index than that of said dielectric thin-film slab, characterized in that: the dielectric columns which form one line of the lattice in an optical waveguide part in said two-dimensional photonic crystal slab waveguide are located at positions which are shifted in an optical propagation direction from positions at which dielectric columns should be positioned if said two-dimensional lattice pattern was not changed in the waveguide region. The two-dimensional photonic crystal slab waveguide as claimed in claim 1, wherein: a first diameter of said dielectric columns in said optical waveguide part is different from a second diameter of other dielectric columns located in parts other than said optical waveguide part, and said first diameter is a value by which said dielectric columns does not contact with said other dielectric columns. The two-dimensional photonic crystal slab waveguide as claimed in claim 1, wherein each dielectric column of dielectric columns in said optical waveguide part is apart from a position at which said each dielectric column should be positioned in said normal two-dimensional photonic crystal slab by a half of the lattice constant of said normal two-dimensional photonic crystal slab The two-dimensional photonic crystal slab waveguide as claimed in claim 1, wherein said dielectric cylindrical or polygon columns are arranged in a triangle lattice pattern having a lattice constant "a", a radius or a half-breadth of said dielectric cylindrical or polygon columns is from 0.2a to 0.45a, and said radius or half-breadth is determined such that said dielectric cylindrical or polygon columns do not contact with dielectric columns in said optical waveguide part. The two-dimensional photonic crystal slab waveguide as claimed in claim 4, wherein: a refractive index of said dielectric thin-film slab is from 3.0 to 4.5, and each of refractive indices of parts other than said dielectric thin-film slab is from 1.0 to 1.7. The two-dimensional photonic crystal slab waveguide as claimed in claim 1, wherein said dielectric cylindrical or polygon columns are arranged in a square lattice pattern having a lattice constant "a", a radius or a half-breadth of said dielectric cylindrical or polygon columns is from 0.35a to 0.45a, and said radius or half-breadth is determined such that wherein said dielectric cylindrical or polygon columns do not contact with dielectric columns in said optical waveguide part. The two-dimensional photonic crystal slab waveguide as claimed in claim 6, wherein: a refractive index of said dielectric thin-film slab is from 3.0 to 4.5, and each of refractive indices of parts other than said dielectric thin-film slab is from 1.0 to 1.7. The two-dimensional photonic crystal slab waveguide as claimed in claim 1, wherein: silicon, germanium, gallium arsenide base compound, indium phosphide base compound, or indium antimony base compound is used as a material of said dielectric thin-film slab, and silica, polyimide base organic compound, epoxy base organic compound, acrylic base organic compound, air or vacuum is used as a material of parts other than said dielectric thin-film slab. The two-dimensional photonic crystal slab waveguide as claimed in claim 8, wherein said two-dimensional photonic crystal slab waveguide is formed by using a Silicon-On-Insulator (SOI) substrate.
Anspruch[fr]
Guide d'ondes plat à cristal photonique à deux dimensions dans lequel des colonnes diélectriques polygonales ou cylindriques ayant un indice de réfraction inférieur à celui d'une plaque en couche mince diélectrique sont disposées dans ladite plaque en couche mince diélectrique selon un motif de réseau à deux dimensions, et ladite plaque en couche mince diélectrique est intercalée entre une couche de confinement supérieure et une couche de confinement inférieure qui ont un indice de réfraction inférieur à celui de ladite plaque en couche mince diélectrique, caractérisé en ce que : les colonnes diélectriques, qui forment une ligne du réseau dans une partie de guide d'ondes optiques dans ledit guide d'ondes plat à cristal photonique à deux dimensions, sont situées à des positions qui sont décalées dans une direction de propagation optique des positions auxquelles des colonnes diélectriques seraient positionnées si ledit motif de réseau à deux dimensions n'était pas modifié dans la région de guide d'ondes. Guide d'ondes plat à cristal photonique à deux dimensions selon la revendication 1, dans lequel : un premier diamètre desdites colonnes diélectriques dans ladite partie de guide d'ondes optiques est différent d'un deuxième diamètre d'autres colonnes diélectriques situées dans des parties autres que ladite partie de guide d'ondes optiques, et ledit premier diamètre est une valeur par laquelle lesdites colonnes diélectriques ne sont pas en contact avec lesdites autres colonnes diélectriques. Guide d'ondes plat à cristal photonique à deux dimensions selon la revendication 1, dans lequel chaque colonne diélectrique des colonnes diélectriques dans ladite partie de guide d'ondes optiques est espacée d'une position à laquelle chaque colonne diélectrique serait positionnée dans ladite plaque de cristal photonique normale à deux dimensions d'une moitié de la constante de réseau de ladite plaque de cristal photonique normale à deux dimensions. Guide d'ondes plat à cristal photonique à deux dimensions selon la revendication 1, dans lequel lesdites colonnes diélectriques polygonales ou cylindriques sont agencées dans un motif de réseau en triangle ayant une constante de réseau 'a', un rayon ou une demi-largeur desdites colonnes diélectriques polygonales ou cylindriques est compris entre 0,2a et 0,45a, et ledit rayon ou ladite demi-largeur est déterminé de sorte que lesdites colonnes diélectriques polygonales ou cylindriques ne soient pas en contact avec des colonnes diélectriques dans ladite partie de guide d'ondes optiques. Guide d'ondes plat à cristal photonique à deux dimensions selon la revendication 4, dans lequel : un indice de réfraction de ladite plaque en couche mince diélectrique est situé entre 3,0 et 4,5, et chaque indice de réfraction des parties autres que ladite plaque en couche mince diélectrique est situé entre 1,0 et 1,7. Guide d'ondes plat à cristal photonique à deux dimensions selon la revendication 1, dans lequel lesdites colonnes diélectriques polygonales ou cylindriques sont agencées dans un motif de réseau en carré ayant une constante de réseau 'a', un rayon ou une demi-largeur desdites colonnes diélectriques polygonales ou cylindriques est situé entre 0,35a et 0,45a et ledit rayon ou ladite demi-largeur est déterminé de sorte que ladite colonne diélectrique polygonale ou cylindrique ne soit pas en contact avec des colonnes diélectriques dans ladite partie de guide d'ondes optiques. Guide d'ondes plat à cristal photonique à deux dimensions selon la revendication 6, dans lequel : un indice de réfraction de ladite plaque en couche mince diélectrique est situé entre 3,0 et 4,5, et chaque indice de réfraction des parties autre que ladite plaque en couche mince diélectrique est situé entre 1,0 et 1,7. Guide d'ondes plat à cristal photonique à deux dimensions selon la revendication 1, dans lequel : du silicium, du germanium, un composé à base d'arséniure de gallium, un composé à base de phosphure d'indium ou un composé à base d'antimoine et d'indium est utilisé pour le matériau de ladite plaque en couche mince diélectrique, et de l'oxyde de silicium, un composé organique à base de polyimide, un composé organique à base d'époxyde, composé organique à base d'acrylique, de l'air ou du vide est utilisé pour le matériau des parties autres que ladite plaque en couche mince diélectrique. Guide d'ondes plat à cristal photonique à deux dimensions selon la revendication 8, dans lequel ledit guide d'ondes plat à cristal photonique à deux dimensions est formé en utilisant un substrat en silicium sur isolant (SOI).






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