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Liquid crystals in woodpile photonic crystals: fabrication, numerical calculation and measurement

Chih-Hua Ho, Presentation date: February 14, 2016

Author: Chih-Hua Ho
Title: Liquid crystals in woodpile photonic crystals: fabrication, numerical calculation and measurement
Directors: D. Wiersma (Università degli Studi di Firenze, Firenze, Italy) and K. Staliunas
Presentation date: February 14, 2016
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Abstract: Both experimental and numerical studies on Liquid Crystal (LC) infiltrated woodpile Photonic Crystal (PhC) are implemented in this thesis. The most well-known optical phenomenon of PhC is photonic bandgap (PBG). It is observed either in frequency or in spatial domain. The former means for a chromatic plane wave propagating though PhC that a range of frequencies do not transmit but reflect. The later means for a monochromatic focused beam passing though PhC that certain angular components do not transmit but deflect or reflect. The most well-investigated optical phenomenon of LC is birefringence. It is due to the strong dielectric anisotropy LC possesses. When the applied stimulations (e.g. electric/ optical field or external heater) are present, the orientation of LC molecules and different refractive indices (e.g. polarization or temperature dependent) are observed. The presence of LC inside PhC not only reduces index contrast (where angular BG appears) but also brings the tunability to such LC-PhC composite device. Therefore band-stop angular filter and sensitive refractometer for liquid material are potential applications controlled by multiple external stimulations. In this thesis, the related physical properties of PhCs and LCs are introduced beforehand. The fabrication of woodpile PhC is also demonstrated. Direct Laser Writing lithography technique is adopted to build microstructures with high resolution up to hundreds of nanometers. A tunable band-stop filter controlled by polarization and temperature is investigated in linear regime. To bridge our investigation to nonlinear regime, dye-doped LC is used to create graded indices inside LC medium corresponding to intensity. Numerical calculations are conducted to the experimental observations. To sum up, LC-PhC composite device possesses very promising features as demonstrated which could be applied into tunable elements in integrated optical systems and its abundant nonlinear properties remains to be explored carefully.