Low bending loss waveguide opens the avenue to downsizing of 3-D photonic integrated circuits

phys.org | 4/10/2018 | Staff
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Femtosecond laser direct writing is a promising technology for the fabrication of photonic integrated chips mainly due to its intrinsic capability of three-dimensional (3-D) prototyping in transparent substrates. Currently, the difficulty in inducing large refractive index changes smoothly distributed in the laser-irradiated regions is the major obstacle for producing compact photonic integrated circuits (PICs). Recently, researchers in China proposed a solution to suppress the bend loss of the waveguide at small radii of curvatures by more than one order of magnitude, opening a new avenue to downsizing of 3-D photonic integrated circuits. Their work, titled "Suppression of bend loss in writing of three-dimensional optical waveguides with femtosecond laser pulses," was published in Science China Physics, Mechanics & Astronomy.

PICs manufactured by mature photolithographic technologies are used in sensing, optical communications, optical signal processing and biophotonics. As an intrinsically planar fabrication technology, increasing the integration density in the photolithography mainly depends on reducing the sizes of individual components. Alternatively, PICs of geometrically complex 3-D configurations can now be fabricated using femtosecond laser direct writing, which potentially provides high integration density and extreme flexibility in terms of integrated multifunctional systems such as optofluidics and optomechanics.

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(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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