Active slow light in silicon photonic crystals : tunable delay and Raman gain
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In the past decade, great research effort was inspired by the need to realise active optical functionalities in silicon, in order to develop the full potential of silicon as a photonic platform. In this thesis we explore the possibility of achieving tunable delay and optical gain in silicon, taking advantage of the unique dispersion capabilities of photonic crystals. To achieve tunable optical delay, we adopt a wavelength conversion and group velocity dispersion approach in a miniaturised engineered slow light photonic crystal waveguide. Our scheme is equivalent to a two-step indirect photonic transition, involving an alteration of both the frequency and momentum of an optical pulse, where the former is modiﬁed by the adiabatic tuning possibilities enabled by slow light. We apply this concept in a demonstration of continuous tunability of the delay of pulses, and exploit the ultrafast nature of the tuning process to demonstrate manipulation of a single pulse in a train of two pulses. In order to address the propagation loss intrinsic to slow light structures, with a prospect for improving the performance of the tunable delay device, we also investigate the nonlinear effect of stimulated Raman scattering as a means of introducing optical gain in silicon. We study the influence of slowdown factors and pump-induced losses on the evolution of a signal beam along the waveguide, as well as the role of linear propagation loss and mode profile changes typical of realistic photonic crystal structures. We then describe the work conducted for the experimental demonstration of such effect and its enhancement due to slow light. Finally, as the Raman nonlinearity may become useful also in photonic crystal nanocavities, which confine light in very small volumes, we discuss the design and realisation of structures which satisfy the basic requirements on the resonant modes needed for improving Raman scattering.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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