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Photonic Bandgap Glass Leads to Novel Optoelectronics

Photonics Spectra
Nov 1999
Researchers at the US Naval Research Laboratory in Washington reported that they have fabricated photonic bandgap nanochannel glass materials, which they predict will produce optical switches and limiters of higher performance. Armand Rosenberg, a member of the Optical Sciences Div. team, said they expect the materials to lead to next-generation optical sensors and amplifiers, optoelectronics for high-bandwidth communications and thresholdless lasers, as well as to the overall miniaturization of optoelectronic devices.

The research team produced the material by inserting etchable rods into tubes, which it repeatedly pulled and stacked to create glass with <1-µm-diameter holes. The researchers sectioned and wafered the glass, and filled the holes in the resulting matrices with nonlinear optical materials specific to a particular application.

Rosenberg compared this control over the propagation of light to the control of electrons in semiconductors. The research team's goal is to optimize the properties of the glass, which has been tailored to produce bandgaps across the optical spectrum.

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