Published: Nov. 17, 2020 By

Graphic of the devices

Credit Mo Zohrabi and Jiangang Zhu

Researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder have released findings that will impact the future of reconfigurable photonic devices and will lead to new possibilities for nanophotonics and microresonators.

Published in and featured on the cover of Optica, the work is titled “Photo-induced writing and erasing of gratings in As2S3 chalcogenide microresonators.” It features several authors from the Department of Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering and the Department of Physics who describe making reconfigurable optical devices by using light to customize the devices themselves. The devices – small spheres – are made out of chalcogenide glass, a special kind of semiconductor glass. The material is attractive, with a large nonlinear response, long wavelength transparency, and a high sensitivity to light. In the course of the work with the devices, researchers were able to show writing and erasing of grating structure in a chalcogenide microsphere.

Associate Professor Juliet Gopinath said the published findings could help pave the way for future reconfigurable photonic devices with several application areas.

“The ability to make an optically reconfigurable device has many implications including filtering, and sensing for position, navigation and timing applications,” she said.  

Thomas Horning, a graduate student in physics and author on the paper, said the work opens up new avenues of research at different levels.

“This gives us a great platform to explore the mechanism of photosensitivity further and the processes we describe opens questions in both, the theory and application of these devices,” he said.

The research was supported in part by the University of Colorado Boulder; Office of Naval Research (N00014-19-1-2251); Air Force Office of Scientific Research (FA9550-15-1-0506, FA9550-19-1-0364); Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (W911NF-15-1-0621). Other CU Boulder authors include Jiangang Zhu, Mo Zohrabi and Professor Wounjhang Park.