Photonic crystals: Analysis, design and biochemical sensing applications
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The absence of appropriate media to cultivate photons efficiently at the micro or nano scale has hindered taking the full advantage of processing information with light. The proposal of such a medium for light, known as photonic crystals (PCs)--multi-dimensional artificially periodic dielectric media--brings the possibility of a revolution in communications and sensing much closer. In such media, one can manipulate light at a scale on the order of the wavelength or even shorter. Applications of PCs other than in communication include bio-sensing because of the peculiar properties of PCs such as the capability of enhance field-matter interaction and control over the group velocity. As a result, PC waveguide (PCW) structures are of interest and it is expected that PC sensors offer the feasibility of multi-analyte and compact sensing schemes as well as the ability of the detection of small absolute analyte quantities (nanoliters) and low-concentration samples (picomoles), which may be advantages over conventional approaches such as fiber optic and slab waveguide sensors. Depending on the nature of the analyte, either dispersive or absorptive sensing schemes may be implemented. Light propagation is controlled fully only with 3D PCs. One of the problems arising due to reducing the dimension to 2D is that PCs become strongly polarization sensitive. In many cases, one wants to implement polarization insensitive devices such that the PC provides a full band gap for all polarizations. To address this problem, a novel type of PC called annular PC is proposed and analyzed. The capability of tuning the TE and TM polarizations independently within the same structure provides great flexibility to produce polarization-independent or polarization-dependent devices as desired. PCW bends are expected to be the essential building blocks of photonic integrated circuits. Sharp corners having small radii of curvature can be obtained. To enhance the low-loss and narrow-band transmission through these bends, PC heterostructures waveguide concept is introduced. We show that in PCWs formed by joining different types of PCs in a single structure, light can flow around extremely sharp bends in ways that are not possible using conventional PCWs based on a single type of PC.
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