Polarization manipulation in femtosecond laser direct written waveguides in fused silica

Using ultrashort laser pulses to create refractive index modifications in transparent materials has become a popular method for fabricating integrated photonic circuits, since it allows three-dimensional structuring and rapid prototyping. While the precise control of the light propagation path in such laser direct written photonic circuits has been subject of numerous investigations, the control of the lights polarization has rarely been examined. At the same time, achieving full control over the lights polarization in a photonic circuit is crucial for using this degree of freedom to encode information. The goal of this theses is to demonstrate ways of achieving this polarization control in femtosecond laser direct written circuits in fused silica. To ensure that a waveguide does not alter the polarization state (and thereby the information content) of transmitted light, the waveguide should exhibit minimal birefringence and minimal losses. For this purpose, the influence of different beam shaping methods for the inscription laser on the waveguides optical properties are investigated. Waveguides with lowest losses at a low birefringence were achieved using an anamorphic zoom system. Furthermore, two concepts for embedding compact polarization manipulating elements into the waveguides are presented. Firstly, it is shown that the self-ordered material modification nanograting can be used to create embedded waveplates, where the optical properties are determined by the laser inscription parameters during the fabrication process. The obtained structures can be used not only for classical applications, but also as single qubit quantum gates, which is demonstrated using single photon experiments. The second concept for embedding polarization manipulating elements into waveguides is based on liquid crystals, which allow active reconfiguration of the optical circuit after inscription and a dynamic change of the polarization state in a waveguide.


Citation style:
Could not load citation form.


Use and reproduction: