Chinese Optics Letters (COL) invites original articles for a Special Issue on Lithium Niobate Based Photonic Devices to be published in June 25 2021. Lithium niobate (LiNbO3) is a multifunctional crystal with combination of a number of excellent properties, such as electrooptical, acousto-optic, nonlinear optical, piezoelectric, and pyroelectric features. In optics and photonics, the LiNbO3-based devices have been widely applied in various aspects. Typical applications include acoustic- and electro-optic modulators, nonlinear wavelength converters, waveguide amplifiers, and quantum memories. The traditional LiNbO3 based photonic devices are constructed on micro-photonic structures, e.g., optical waveguides. A number of techniques have been utilized to produce low-loss LiNbO3 waveguides towards diverse applications. Recently, thin-film devices based on LiNbO3-On-Insulators (LNOI) technology have emerged as promising candidates due to the on-chip integration and strong confinement of light fields. Exciting LNOI-based devices, such as high speed modulators, highly efficient nonlinear optical elements, or hybrid quantum chips, have been developed through advanced techniques, showing distinguished performance for practical applications. There are continuous interests amid researchers on LiNbO3-based photonic devices and related applications, and a number of research groups are devoted to these interesting works. Regarding to these efforts and achievements, the scope of this special focus, covers all aspects of recent theoretical and experimental research related to LiNbO3–based photonic structures and devices.
Lithium niobate (LiNbO3), so-called “Silicon in Photonics,” is a multifunctional crystal with a combination of a number of excellent physical properties. In optics and photonics, the LiNbO3-based devices, such as modulators, wavelength converters, waveguide amplifiers, and quantum photonic chips, have been realized and widely applied in various areas. In addition to the traditional waveguides, the LiNbO3 on insulators (LNOI) technology enables fabrication of large-scale, high-quality LiNbO3 thin film wafers, boosting the development of thin film LiNbO3-based devices; consequently, versatile applications have been realized to satisfy the small footprint for photonic integrated circuits (PICs). Aiming to present the impressive progresses in this field, Chinese Optics Letters publishes this special issue focusing on the fabrication of new LNOI wafers, new design of LNOI-based structures, and the intriguing applications of LNOI-based devices in selected active topics.
We demonstrate high-quality (intrinsic Q factor ∼2.8 × 106) racetrack microresonators fabricated on lithium niobate thin film with a free spectral range (FSR) of ∼86 pm. By integrating microelectrodes alongside the two straight arms of the racetrack resonator, the resonance wavelength around 1550 nm can be red shifted by 92 pm when the electric voltage is raised from -100 V to 100 V. The microresonators with the tuning range spanning over a full FSR are fabricated using photolithography assisted chemo-mechanical etching.
Integrated traveling-wave lithium niobate modulators need relatively large device lengths to achieve low drive voltage. To increase modulation efficiency within a compact footprint, we report an integrated Fabry–Perot-type electro-optic thin film lithium niobate on insulator modulator comprising a phase modulation region sandwiched between two distributed Bragg reflectors. The device exhibits low optical loss and a high tuning efficiency of 15.7 pm/V. We also confirm the modulator’s high-speed modulation performance by non-return-to-zero modulation with a data rate up to 56 Gbit/s.
We theoretically propose a hybrid lithium niobate (LN) thin-film waveguide that consists of an amorphous silicon stripe and etch-free z-cut LN for highly efficient wavelength conversion, circumventing the challenging etching on LN material. Profiting from the spatial symmetry breaking of the waveguide, the asymmetric hybrid modes can spontaneously achieve phase matching with small modal area and large spatial mode overlap, enabling enhanced second harmonic generation with a normalized conversion efficiency over 3900% W-1·cm-2 (0.5-mm-long propagation distance). The choice of integrating silicon with LN alleviates the fabrication challenge, making the platform potentially compatible with silicon photonics.
Based on nonlinear wave mixing, we experimentally propose a scheme for directly generating optical orbital angular momentum (OAM) by a spirally structured fundamental wave interacting with a nonlinear medium, in which the nonlinear susceptibilities are homogenous. In the experiment, the second-harmonic generation of a fundamental wave carrying positive (negative) integers and fractional OAM states was investigated. This study presents a convenient approach for dynamic control of OAM of vortex beams, which may feature their applications in optical manipulation and optical communication.
We propose and demonstrate a polarization diversity two-dimensional grating coupler based on the lithium niobate on insulator platform, for the first time, to the best of our knowledge. The optimization design, performance characteristics, and fabrication tolerance of the two-dimensional grating coupler are thoroughly analyzed utilizing the three-dimensional finite-difference time-domain method. Experimentally, -7.2 dB of coupling efficiency is achieved with 1 dB bandwidth of 64 nm. The polarization-dependent loss is about 0.4 dB around 1550 nm. Our work provides new polarization multiplexing approaches for the lithium niobate on insulator platform, paving the way for critical applications such as high-speed polarization multiplexed electro-optical modulators.
Periodically poled lithium niobate on insulator (LNOI) ridge waveguides are desirable for high-efficiency nonlinear frequency conversions, and the fabrication process of such waveguides is crucial for device performance. In this work, we report fabrication and characterization of locally periodically poled ridge waveguides. Ridge waveguides were fabricated by dry etching, and then the high-voltage pulses were applied to locally poled ridge waveguides. Second harmonic generation with normalized conversion efficiency of 435.5% W-1·cm-2 was obtained in the periodically poled LNOI ridge waveguide, which was consistent with the triangular domain structure revealed by confocal microscopy.
Lithium niobate on insulator (LNOI), as an emerging and promising optical integration platform, faces shortages of on-chip active devices including lasers and amplifiers. Here, we report the fabrication of on-chip erbium-doped LNOI waveguide amplifiers based on electron beam lithography and inductively coupled plasma reactive ion etching. A net internal gain of ～30 dB/cm in the communication band was achieved in the fabricated waveguide amplifiers under the pump of a 974 nm continuous laser. This work develops new active devices on LNOI and may promote the development of LNOI integrated photonics.
We report on the fabrication and optimization of lithium niobate planar and ridge waveguides at the wavelength of 633 nm. To obtain a planar waveguide, oxygen ions with an energy of 3.0 MeV and a fluence of 1.5×1015 ions/cm2 are implanted in the polished face of LiNbO3 crystals. For planar waveguides, a loss of 0.5 dB/cm is obtained after annealing at 300°C for 30 min. The ridge waveguide is fabricated by the diamond blade dicing method on optimized planar waveguides. The guiding properties are investigated by prism coupling and end-face coupling methods.
High-Q lithium niobate (LN) optical micro-resonators are an excellent platform for future applications in optical communications, nonlinear optics, and quantum optics. To date, high-Q factors are typically achieved in LN using either dielectric masks or femtosecond laser ablation, while the more standard and commonly available lift-off metallic masks are often believed to lead to rough sidewalls and lowered Q factors. Here, we show that LN microring resonators with strong light confinement and intrinsic Q factors over 1 million can be fabricated using optimized lift-off metallic masks and dry etching processes, corresponding to a waveguide propagation loss of ～0.3 dB/cm. The entire process is fully compatible with wafer-scale production and could be transferred to other photonic materials.
The nonlinear Talbot effect is a near-field nonlinear diffraction phenomenon in which the self-imaging of periodic objects is formed by the second harmonics of the incident laser beam. We demonstrate the first, to the best of our knowledge, example of nonlinear Talbot self-healing, i.e., the capability of creating defect-free images from faulty nonlinear optical structures. In particular, we employ the tightly focused femtosecond infrared optical pulses to fabricate LiNbO3 nonlinear photonic crystals and show that the defects in the form of the missing points of two-dimensional square and hexagonal periodic structures are restored in the second harmonic images at the first nonlinear Talbot plane. The observed nonlinear Talbot self-healing opens up new possibilities for defect-tolerant optical lithography and printing.
Recently, nonlinear photonics has attracted considerable interest. Among the nonlinear effects, second harmonic generation (SHG) remains a hot research topic. The recent development of thin film lithium niobate (TFLN) technology has superior performances to the conventional counterparts. Herein, this review article reveals the recent progress of SHG based on TFLN and its integrated photonics. We mainly discuss and compare the different techniques of TFLN-based structures to boost the nonlinear performances assisted by localizing light in nanostructures and structured waveguides. Moreover, our conclusions and perspectives indicate that more efficient methods need to be further explored for higher SHG conversion efficiency on the TFLN platform.
Lithium niobate (LiNbO3) is a versatile crystalline material for various photonic applications. With the recent advances in LiNbO3-on-insulator (LNOI) thin film technology, LiNbO3 has been regarded as one of the most promising platforms for multi-functional integrated photonics. In this work, we present the field enhancement due to collective resonances in arrayed LiNbO3 nanoantennas. These resonances arise from the enhanced radiative coupling of localized Mie resonances in the individual nanoparticles and Rayleigh anomalies due to in-plane diffraction orders of the lattice. We describe the pronounced differences in field enhancement and field distributions for electric and magnetic dipoles, offering valuable information for the design and optimization of high-quality-factor optical metasurfaces based on LiNbO3.
We investigate the influences of structure parameters and interface shapes on the bandwidth of the edge state of lithium niobate valley photonic crystals. By increasing the size difference of two air holes in the same unit cell, we find that the bandwidth of the lossless nontrivial edge state possesses a peak value of 0.0201(a/λ), which can be used to construct broadband valley photonic crystal waveguides. Mode field distributions verify that the waveguide is robust against sharp bends and exhibits chirality. When the unit cell is arranged in a bearded interface with the top and bottom components showing negative and positive valley Chern numbers, respectively, we find that the lithium niobate valley photonic crystal is more likely to exhibit a lossless edge state, which is difficult to be realized in valley waveguides with low refractive index materials. This work can provide guidance on the design of the high-performance topological waveguide.
We study the effect of dimension variation for second-harmonic generation (SHG) in lithium niobate on insulator (LNOI) waveguides. Non-trivial SHG profiles in both type-0 and type-I quasi-phase matching are observed during the wavelength tuning of the fundamental light. Theoretical modeling shows that the SHG profile and efficiency can be greatly affected by the waveguide cross-section dimension variations, especially the thickness variations. In particular, our analysis shows that a thickness variation of tens of nanometers is in good agreement with the experimental results. Such investigations could be used to evaluate fabrication performance of LNOI-based nonlinear optical devices.
A novel thin-film lithium niobate (TFLN) electro-optic modulator is proposed and demonstrated. LiNbO3-silica hybrid waveguide is adopted to maintain low optical loss for an electrode spacing as narrow as 3 µm, resulting in a low half-wave-voltage length product of only 1.7 V·cm. Capacitively loaded traveling-wave electrodes are employed to reduce the microwave loss, while a quartz substrate is used in place of a silicon substrate to achieve velocity matching. The fabricated TFLN modulator with a 5-mm-long modulation region exhibits a half-wave voltage of 3.4 V and a merely less than 2 dB roll-off in an electro-optic response up to 67 GHz.
The heterogeneous integration of silicon thin film and lithium niobate (LN) thin film combines both the advantages of the excellent electronics properties and mature micro-processing technology of Si and the excellent optical properties of LN, comprising a potentially promising material platform for photonic integrated circuits. Based on ion-implantation and wafer-bonding technologies, a 3 inch wafer-scale hybrid mono-crystalline Si/LN thin film was fabricated. A high-resolution transmission electron microscope was used to investigate the crystal-lattice arrangement of each layer and the interfaces. Only the H-atom-concentration distribution was investigated using secondary-ion mass spectroscopy. High-resolution X-ray-diffraction ω–2θ scanning was used to study the lattice properties of the Si/LN thin films. Raman measurements were performed to investigate the bulk Si and the Si thin films. Si strip-loaded straight waveguides were fabricated, and the optical propagation loss of a 5-μm-width waveguide was 6 dB/cm for the quasi-TE mode at 1550 nm. The characterization results provide useful information regarding this hybrid material.