Advanced Photonics, Volume. 4, Issue 3, 034003(2022)

Advances in lithium niobate photonics: development status and perspectives Article Video , On the Cover

Guanyu Chen1, Nanxi Li2, Jun Da Ng1, Hong-Lin Lin1, Yanyan Zhou2, Yuan Hsing Fu2, Lennon Yao Ting Lee2, Yu Yu3、*, Ai-Qun Liu4, and Aaron J. Danner1、*
Author Affiliations
  • 1National University of Singapore, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Singapore
  • 2A*STAR (Agency for Science, Technology and Research), Institute of Microelectronics, Singapore
  • 3Huazhong University of Science and Technology, School of Optical and Electronic Information, Wuhan National Laboratory for Optoelectronics, Wuhan, China
  • 4Nanyang Technological University, Quantum Science and Engineering Centre, Singapore
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    Lithium niobate (LN) has experienced significant developments during past decades due to its versatile properties, especially its large electro-optic (EO) coefficient. For example, bulk LN-based modulators with high speeds and a superior linearity are widely used in typical fiber-optic communication systems. However, with ever-increasing demands for signal transmission capacity, the high power and large size of bulk LN-based devices pose great challenges, especially when one of its counterparts, integrated silicon photonics, has experienced dramatic developments in recent decades. Not long ago, high-quality thin-film LN on insulator (LNOI) became commercially available, which has paved the way for integrated LN photonics and opened a hot research area of LN photonics devices. LNOI allows a large refractive index contrast, thus light can be confined within a more compact structure. Together with other properties of LN, such as nonlinear/acousto-optic/pyroelectric effects, various kinds of high-performance integrated LN devices can be demonstrated. A comprehensive summary of advances in LN photonics is provided. As LN photonics has experienced several decades of development, our review includes some of the typical bulk LN devices as well as recently developed thin film LN devices. In this way, readers may be inspired by a complete picture of the evolution of this technology. We first introduce the basic material properties of LN and several key processing technologies for fabricating photonics devices. After that, various kinds of functional devices based on different effects are summarized. Finally, we give a short summary and perspective of LN photonics. We hope this review can give readers more insight into recent advances in LN photonics and contribute to the further development of LN related research.

    Video Introduction to the Article

    1 Introduction

    Lithium niobate (LiNbO3, LN) is one of the most important artificial materials and has been widely used in the photonics area since it was first discovered to have a ferroelectric property in 1949.1 Compared with other material systems, LN has various superior characteristics, such as a wide transparency window (400 nm to 5  μm) and large electro-optic (EO)/nonlinear-optic (NLO)/acousto-optic (AO)/pyroelectric coefficients, as well as stable chemical and physical properties.29 Based on these effects, various kinds of photonics devices have been demonstrated. For example, the large EO property of LN can be used for the realization of high-speed modulators. As there is no carrier dynamic process involved, such as the case in its counterparts including silicon (Si)10 and indium phosphide (InP),11 both the speed and linearity of LN modulators show advantages compared with other kinds of modulators. Therefore, in current fiber-optic communication systems, LN-based modulators have been widely used.3 The second- and third-order nonlinear effects in LN can also be used for various nonlinear optic conversions, covering both classical and quantum application scenarios.1215 Other properties of LN are also widely utilized for fabricating high-performance functional devices.1618


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    Guanyu Chen, Nanxi Li, Jun Da Ng, Hong-Lin Lin, Yanyan Zhou, Yuan Hsing Fu, Lennon Yao Ting Lee, Yu Yu, Ai-Qun Liu, Aaron J. Danner. Advances in lithium niobate photonics: development status and perspectives[J]. Advanced Photonics, 2022, 4(3): 034003

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    Paper Information

    Category: Reviews

    Received: Jan. 16, 2022

    Accepted: Apr. 26, 2022

    Published Online: Jun. 9, 2022

    The Author Email: Yu Yu (, Danner Aaron J. (



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