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Proceedings Paper

Enhancement mechanisms for optical forces in integrated optics
Author(s): M. L. Povinelli; M. Lončar; E. J. Smythe; M. Ibanescu; S. G. Johnson; F. Capasso; J. D. Joannopoulos
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Paper Abstract

We investigate the extension of optical micromanipulation to integrated optics. In particular, we consider whether propagating light signals can cause mechanical reconfiguration of a device. While such forces are intrinsically weak, we predict theoretically that significant displacements can be achieved using various enhancement mechanisms. These include the use of high-index materials, high-Q (cavity quality factor) enhancement, and slow light in photonic crystals. Silicon optical waveguides have a considerable refractive index contrast with the surrounding air, with a ratio of roughly 3.45/1 at optical communications wavelengths. We show that the strong confinement of light to silicon magnifies optical forces arising from overlap in the guided modes of neighboring waveguides. Silica microsphere resonators are known to have extremely high cavity quality factors, in excess of 108. We show that the quality factor of the resonator magnifies the optical force due to modal overlap between two neighboring spheres. Thirdly, we investigate slow-light enhancement of optical forces using photonic-crystal devices. We show that slow-light velocities give rise to larger forces for the same amount of signal power, enhancing optomechanical coupling effects. In addition to being of fundamental interest, our work suggests that optical manipulation may ultimately provide a route to all-optical conformational control and switching.

Paper Details

Date Published: 11 September 2006
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 6326, Optical Trapping and Optical Micromanipulation III, 632609 (11 September 2006); doi: 10.1117/12.681066
Show Author Affiliations
M. L. Povinelli, Stanford Univ. (United States)
M. Lončar, Harvard Univ. (United States)
E. J. Smythe, Harvard Univ. (United States)
M. Ibanescu, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (United States)
S. G. Johnson, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (United States)
F. Capasso, Harvard Univ. (United States)
J. D. Joannopoulos, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6326:
Optical Trapping and Optical Micromanipulation III
Kishan Dholakia; Gabriel C. Spalding, Editor(s)

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