CaltechTHESIS
  A Caltech Library Service

Photonic whispering-gallery resonators in new environments

Citation

Ostby, Eric Paul (2009) Photonic whispering-gallery resonators in new environments. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. http://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechETD:etd-05292009-172708

Abstract

Optical whispering-gallery devices, like the microtoroid or microdisk, confine light at resonant frequencies and in ultra-small volumes for long periods of time. Such ultra-low loss resonators have been applied in diverse areas of scientific research, including low-threshold lasers on-chip, biological sensing, and quantum computing. In this thesis, novel ultra-low loss microstructures are studied for their unique characteristics and utility. The author investigates the interaction between microcavities and various environments in order to quantify the results and lay the foundation for future applications. The first optical cavity studied is the microtoroid, which possesses ultra-high quality factor (Q) on account of its nearly atomic smooth surface, produced by surface-tension induced laser reflow. Ytterbium-doped silica microtoroids are fabricated by a sol-gel technique. The ytterbium microtoroid laser achieves record-low laser threshold (2 µW) in air, and produces the first laser output for a solid-state laser in water. This laser in water can be developed as an ultra-sensitive biological sensor, with potentially record sensitivity enabled by gain-narrowed linewidth. Also, a novel CO2 laser reflow and microtoroid testing vacuum system is demonstrated. Fabrication and testing of microtoroids is performed in a vacuum chamber to study the effect of atmospheric water and upper limit of Q in microtoroids. The selective reflow of microtoroids presents difficulties for integration of on-chip optical waveguides. As an alternative, dimension-preserving low-loss optical structures are researched for their unique applications. A gold-coated silica microdisk is fabricated, and demonstrates record and nearly-ideal quality factor (1,376) as a surface-plasmon polariton resonator. The hybrid optical-plasmonic mode structure is studied in simulation and experiment. The plasmonic resonator has ultra-low mode volume and high field confinement, making it suitable for short-range optical communication or sensing. Finally, a novel whispering-gallery optical delay line in a spiral geometry is designed and experimentally demonstrated. The center transition region of the spiral is optimized for low transmission loss by beam propagation simulation. A 1.4 m long spiral waveguide within a 1 cm^2 area is presented. The spiral waveguide structure is being developed as a real-time optical delay line with fiber-like loss, important for optical communication and signal processing.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:laser; microcavity; plasmonics; rare-earth; spiral; vacuum reflow; water
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Electrical Engineering
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Vahala, Kerry J.
Thesis Committee:
  • Vahala, Kerry J. (chair)
  • Crosignani, Bruno
  • Yang, Changhuei
  • Atwater, Harry Albert
  • Painter, Oskar J.
Defense Date:20 May 2009
Record Number:CaltechETD:etd-05292009-172708
Persistent URL:http://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechETD:etd-05292009-172708
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:2284
Collection:CaltechTHESIS
Deposited By: Imported from ETD-db
Deposited On:02 Jun 2009
Last Modified:26 Dec 2012 02:49

Thesis Files

[img]
Preview
PDF (00_Intro_Ostby.pdf) - Final Version
See Usage Policy.

135Kb
[img]
Preview
PDF (01_Ch1_Ostby.pdf) - Final Version
See Usage Policy.

78Kb
[img]
Preview
PDF (02_Ch2_Ostby.pdf) - Final Version
See Usage Policy.

8Mb
[img]
Preview
PDF (03_Ch3_Ostby.pdf) - Final Version
See Usage Policy.

7Mb
[img]
Preview
PDF (04_Ch4_Ostby.pdf) - Final Version
See Usage Policy.

4Mb
[img]
Preview
PDF (05_Ch5_Ostby.pdf) - Final Version
See Usage Policy.

10Mb
[img]
Preview
PDF (06_Ch6_Ostby.pdf) - Final Version
See Usage Policy.

5Mb
[img]
Preview
PDF (07_Ch7_Ostby.pdf) - Final Version
See Usage Policy.

9Mb
[img]
Preview
PDF (08_Thesis_Ostby.pdf) - Final Version
See Usage Policy.

42Mb
[img] Other (09_Bib_Ostby.bib) - Final Version
See Usage Policy.

41Kb

Repository Staff Only: item control page