Mechanically Tunable Photonic Crystals

Won Park and J.-B. Lee

The next frontier in photonic crystal research may be to achieve dynamic tunability that allows real-time, on-demand control of the photonic band structure. Recently, researchers have been working on a new strategy for achieving this goal—by applying mechanical force.



The term “photonic crystal” refers to a material that has a periodic refractive index. This periodic index profile affects the propagation of light in much the same way that the periodic potential influences electronic motion in natural crystals, leading to novel optical phenomena such as photonic band gaps, self-collimation and negative refraction. Thanks to recent progress in nanofabrication technologies, researchers can now build these structures with extreme precision.

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