Photonic crystal waveguide created by selective infiltration
The marriage of photonics and microfluidics ("optofluidics") uses the inherent mobility of fluids to reversibly tune photonic structures beyond traditional fabrication methods by infiltrating voids in said structures. Photonic crystals (PhCs) strongly control light on the wavelength scale and are well suited to optofluidic tuning because their periodic airhole microstructure is a natural candidate for housing liquids. The infiltration of a single row of holes in the PhC matrix modifies the effective refractive index allowing optical modes to be guided by the PhC bandgap. In this work we present the first experimental demonstration of a reconfigurable single mode W1 photonic crystal defect waveguide created by selective liquid infiltration. We modified a hexagonal silicon planar photonic crystal membrane by selectively filling a single row of air holes with ~300nm resolution, using high refractive index ionic liquid. The modification creates optical confinement in the infiltrated region and allows propagation of a single optical waveguide mode. We describe the challenges arising from the infiltration process and the liquid/solid surface interaction in the photonic crystal. We include a detailed comparison between analytic and numerical modeling and experimental results, and introduce a new approach to create an offset photonic crystal cavity by varying the nature of the selective infiltration process.