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17 May 2010 Tunable integrated optical filters based on sapphire microspheres and liquid crystals
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We present an integrated optical narrowband electrically tunable filter based on the whispering gallery modes of sapphire microspheres and double ion-exchanged channel BK7 glass waveguides. Tuning is provided by a liquid crystal infiltrated between the spheres and the glass substrate. By suitably choosing the radii of the spheres and of the circular apertures, upon which the spheres are positioned, arrays of different filters can be realized on the same substrate with a low cost industrial process. We evaluate the performance in terms of quality factor, mode spacing, and tuning range by comparing the numerical results obtained by the numerical finite element modeling approach and with the analytical approach of the Generalized Lorenz-Mie Theory for various design parameters. By reorienting the LC in an external electrical field, we demonstrate the tuning of the spectral response of the sapphire microsphere based filter. We find that the value of the mode spacing remains nearly unchanged for the different values of the applied electric field. An increase of the applied electric field strength, changes the refractive index of the liquid crystal, so that for a fixed geometry the mode spacing remains unchanged.
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Giovanni Gilardi, Hasan Yilmaz, Mohammed Sharif Murib, Rita Asquini, Antonio d'Alessandro, Ali Serpengüzel, and Romeo Beccherelli "Tunable integrated optical filters based on sapphire microspheres and liquid crystals", Proc. SPIE 7719, Silicon Photonics and Photonic Integrated Circuits II, 77191E (17 May 2010);

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