Three-dimensional periodic dielectric structure can be described by band theory, analogous to electron waves in a crystal. Photonic band gap (PBG) structures were introduced in 1987. The PBG is an energy band in which optical modes, spontaneous emission, and zero-point
fluctuations are all absent. It was first theoretically predicted that a three-dimensional photonic crystal could have a complete band gap. E. Yablonovitch built the first three-dimensional photonic crystal (Yablonovite) on microwave length scale, with a complete PBG. In nature, photonic crystals occur as semiprecious opal and the microscopic structures on the wings of some tropical butterflies, which are repeating structures (PBG structure/materials) that inhibit the propagation of some frequencies of light. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) has been developing tunable (between 3.5 and 16 μm) quantum cascade lasers (QCL), chalcogenides, and all other components for an integrated approach to chemical sensing. We
have made significant progress in modeling and fabrication of infrared photonic band gap (PBG) materials and structures. We modeled several 2-D designs and defect configurations. Transmission spectra were computed by the Finite Difference Time Domain Method (with
FullWAVETM). The band gaps were computed by the Plane Wave Expansion Method (with BandSOLVETM). The modeled designs and defects were compared and the best design was identified. On the experimental front, chalcogenide glasses were used as the starting materials. As2S3, a common chalcogenide, is an important infrared (IR) transparent material with a variety of potential applications such as IR sensors, waveguides, and photonic crystals. Wet-chemical lithography has been extended to PBG fabrication and challenges identified. An overview of results and challenges will be presented.