Physics and applications of coupled-cavity structures in photonic crystals
We proposed and demonstrated a new type of propagation mechanism for the electromagnetic waves in photonic band gap materials. Photons propagate through coupled cavities due to interaction between the highly localized neighboring cavity modes. We reported a novel waveguide, which we called coupled-cavity waveguide (CCW), in two- and three-dimensional photonic structures. By using CCWs, we demonstrated lossless and reflectionless waveguide bends, efficient power splitters, and photonic switches. We also experimentally observed the splitting of eigenmodes in coupled-cavities and formation of defect band due to interaction between the cavity modes. We reported the modification of spontaneous emission from hydrogenated amorphous silicon-nitride and silicon-oxide multilayers with coupled Fabry-Perot microcavities. We observed that the spontaneous emission rate is drastically enhanced at the coupledmicrocavity band edges due to very long photon lifetime. We also simulated our photonic structures by using the Transfer-Matrix-Method (TMM) and the Finite-Difference-Time-Domain (FDTD) method. The tight-binding (TB) approach, which was originally developped for the electronic structure calculations, is applied to the photonic structures, and compared to our experimental results. The measured results agree well with the simulations and the prediction of TB approximation. The excellent agreement between the measured, simulated, and the TB results is an indication of potential usage of TB approximation in photonic structures. Our achievements open up a new research area, namely physics and applications of coupled-cavities, in photonic structures. These results are very promising to construct for the future all-optical components on a single chip.