June 2002

Photonic Crystals: An Engineering Perspective

Shu Namiki and Yoshihiro Emori

Photonic crystal devices posses a unique ability to control and localize light. This article discusses design and fabrication methods used to engineer photonic crystal devices for use in chip-scale photonic systems.

Arrayed Waveguide Grating Technology

The capacity of arrayed waveguide gratings (AWGs) has increased dramatically, to the point that as many as 400 channels can now be incorporated into a single wafer. A capacity of 1080 channels with 25-GHz channel spacing has been reported in tandem AWGs with a multichip configuration. Although the total capacity of the transport can be increased to the terabit level by use of wavelength-division multiplexing, signal processing in the electrical layer remains a serious problem because of the limits in electrical signal processing speed. The optical signal processing devices that can play an important role in solving this issue include dispersion slope equalizers, polarization-mode dispersion (PMD), equalizers, temporal pulse shapers, and optical label recognition circuits.

Fast Light, Slow Light

Light pulses can be made to propagate with group velocities exceeding the speed of light in a vacuum or, at the opposite extreme, to come to a complete stop.

Nonlinear Atom Optics

Interatomic interactions can introduce nonlinear behavior into a system of trapped ultracold atoms, similar to the dynamics of light propagating in a refractive nonlinear medium. Bose-Einstein condensates are now providing the means for studying coherent nonlinear dynamics with dilute atomic systems.

Photothermal Diagnostic Technologies

Photothermal diagnostics (PTD) has been responsible for the emergence of a growing number of revolutionary new measurement technologies in both academic and industrial environments. The common element among these diffusion-based methodologies is that they are complementary to purely optical detection techniques because they rely on the detection of optically produced thermal phenomena, or on other processes that result in the occlusion of thermal energy or the emission of thermal infrared photons.

Slow, Ultraslow, Stored, and Frozen Light

The article illustrates recent experiments in which light is slowed, frozen, reversed, and stored in hot atomic vapors via electromagnetically induced transparency.

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