Theoretical investigation of photonic crystal and metal cladding for waveguides and lasers
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An efficient numerical analysis method for wavelength-scale and sub-wavelength-scale photonic structures is developed. It is applied to metal-clad nano-lasers and photonic crystal-based DBRs to calculate intrinsic losses (from open boundaries), and to photonic crystal-based waveguides to calculate intrinsic and extrinsic losses (due to fabrication errors). Our results show that a metal-clad surface plasmon-based laser in a cylindrical configuration requires more gain to lase than is available from a semiconductor gain region. However, the lowest order TE and HE guided modes exhibit less loss than the other modes, and hold the most promise for lasing. For photonic crystal-based structures, our matrix-free implementation of the planewave expansion method for calculating layer modes combined with mode-matching between layers using a few lower order modes is shown to be a computationally efficient and reliable method. This method is then used to introduce robust design concepts for designing photonic crystal-based structures in the presence of fabrication uncertainties. Accounting for fabrication uncertainties is shown to be particularly important in the regions of the device where the light exhibits very low group velocity (`slow light'). Finally, the modal discrimination properties of photonic crystal-based DBRs (Distributed Bragg Reflectors) are compared with the properties of conventional oxide-DBR combinations to analyze the contribution of out-of-plane diffraction losses to modal discrimination.