Physics

An Amber Light for Photonic Crystals?

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Science  05 Dec 2003:
Vol. 302, Issue 5651, pp. 1629
DOI: 10.1126/science.302.5651.1629b

It is possible to tailor and tune the optical properties of photonic crystals (PXs) by controlling the fabrication details of these composite, spatially periodic structures of varying refractive index. The ability to design such optical functionality has raised the possibility of developing low-loss optical networks and devices. However, it is impossible to fabricate a perfect PX—thermodynamics prohibits it. Koenderink and Vos investigated the effect of disorder on the optical properties of PXs. Scattering of photons from defects within the PX leads to the diffuse scattering of transmitted light, even in state-of-the-art PXs. Because this scattering is an intrinsic feature, certain tolerances will need to be met in developing new techniques for PX fabrication if they are to be appropriate for their planned applications. — ISO

Phys. Rev. Lett. 91, 213902 (2003).

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