5 October 2005 Spatial beam switching using the superprism effect in nonlinear thin-film stacks
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Abstract
Thin-film stacks exhibiting a high spatial dispersion similar to the photonic crystal superprism effect can be employed to multiplex or demultiplex several wavelength channels using a single thin-film stack. The phase properties of these stacks are designed such that a small change in the wavelength results in a large change of the effective group propagation angle and therefore of the beam exit position for light beams of oblique incidence angle. Here we demonstrate that such a structure also exhibits a large change in the exit position for a fixed incident wavelength due to a small refractive index variation. We investigate theoretically the introduction of optically nonlinear polymer layers into multilayer thin-film structures for electro-optic switching of the refractive index. Polymers offer a number of advantages as nonlinear materials - they are simple to process, they show high, non-resonant nonlinear coefficients and they posses low refractive indices. A dispersive thin-film stack containing tunable polymer layers is therefore promising as a 1:N spatial beam switch with switching times in the nanosecond range. We developed and simulated different designs for dispersive thin-film stacks consisting of dielectric and polymer layers. The approaches range from Bragg stacks with two alternating materials, one of them the active polymer, over impedance matched Bragg stacks to coupled cavities that contain the active material. The achievable refractive index changes with guest-host polymer systems were evaluated and integrated into our calculations.
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Felix Glöckler, Martina Gerken, Uli Lemmer, "Spatial beam switching using the superprism effect in nonlinear thin-film stacks", Proc. SPIE 5963, Advances in Optical Thin Films II, 59632B (5 October 2005); doi: 10.1117/12.625893; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.625893
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