An Isaac Newton Institute Workshop

Graph Models of Mesoscopic Systems, Wave-Guides and Nano-Structures

Slow light in photonic crystals

Author: A. Figotin (University of California at Irvine)

Abstract

The problem of slowing down light by orders of magnitude has been extensively discussed in the literature. Such a possibility can be useful in a variety of optical and microwave applications. Many qualitatively different approaches have been explored. Here we discuss how this goal can be achieved in linear dispersive media, such as photonic crystals. The existence of slowly propagating electromagnetic waves in photonic crystals is quite obvious and well known. The main problem, though, has been how to convert the input radiation into the slow mode without losing a significant portion of the incident light energy to absorption, reflection, etc. We show that the so-called frozen mode regime offers a unique solution to the above problem. Under the frozen mode regime, the incident light enters the photonic crystal with little reflection and, subsequently, is completely converted into the frozen mode with huge amplitude and almost zero group velocity. The linearity of the above effect allows the slowing of light regardless of its intensity. An additional advantage of photonic crystals over other methods of slowing down light is that photonic crystals can preserve both time and space coherence of the input electromagnetic wave.