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Optics Express

Optics Express

  • Editor: Michael Duncan
  • Vol. 13, Iss. 11 — May. 30, 2005
  • pp: 4237–4243
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Compact Z-add-drop wavelength filters for long-range surface plasmon polaritons

Alexandra Boltasseva, Sergey I. Bozhevolnyi, Thomas Søndergaard, Thomas Nikolajsen, and Kristjan Leosson  »View Author Affiliations


Optics Express, Vol. 13, Issue 11, pp. 4237-4243 (2005)
http://dx.doi.org/10.1364/OPEX.13.004237


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Abstract

We design, fabricate and investigate compact Z-add-drop (ZAD) filters for long-range surface plasmon polaritons (LR-SPPs) at telecom wavelengths. The ZAD filter for LR-SPPs consists of two ridge gratings formed by periodic gold thickness modulation at the intersections of three zigzag-crossed gold stripes embedded in polymer. We investigate influence of the grating length and crossing angle on the filter characteristics and demonstrate a 10°-ZAD filter based on 80-µm-long gratings that exhibit a 15-dB dip (centered at ~1.55 µm) in transmission of the direct arm along with the corresponding ~13-nm-wide transmission peak in the drop arm.

© 2005 Optical Society of America

1. Introduction

Surface plasmon polaritons (SPPs) represent surface electromagnetic waves that can propagate along an interface between two media with real parts of permittivity of opposite signs, e.g. a dielectric and a metal [1

1. H. Raether, Surface Plasmons, (Springer, Berlin, 1988).

]. The SPP field components have their maxima at the interfaces and decay exponentially into both media [1

1. H. Raether, Surface Plasmons, (Springer, Berlin, 1988).

]. Small penetration depth (of the order of 100 nm in dielectric and 10 nm in metal) makes SPPs greatly suitable for surface sensing and gives possibilities for controlling the SPP propagation by using surface nanostructures [2

2. S. I. Bozhevolnyi and F. A. Pudonin, “Two-dimensional micro-optics of surface plasmons,” Phys. Rev. Lett. 78, 2823–2826 (1997). [CrossRef]

5

5. S.I. Bozhevolnyi, V.S. Volkov, and K. Leosson, “Localization and waveguiding of surface plasmon polaritons in random nanostructures,” Phys. Rev. Lett. 89, 186801 (2002). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

]. Despite the fact that SPP-based components can transmit only one polarization (the electric field is perpendicular to the stripe surface) [1

1. H. Raether, Surface Plasmons, (Springer, Berlin, 1988).

], there is growing interest in exploration of SPPs for miniaturized photonic circuits. Over the last years, SPPs have been extensive studied for radiation guiding along straight and sharply bent channels in (periodically) corrugated regions and along narrow metal stripes [4

4. S. I. Bozhevolnyi, J. Erland, K. Leosson, P. M. W. Skovgaard, and J. M. Hvam, “Waveguiding in surface plasmon polariton band gap structures,” Phys. Rev. Lett. 86, 3008–3011 (2001). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

7

7. J.-C. Weeber, J. R. Krenn, A. Dereux, B. Lamprecht, Y. Lacroute, and J.-P. Goudonnet, “Near-field observation of surface plasmon polariton propagation on thin metal stripes,” Phys. Rev. B 64, 045411–9 (2001). [CrossRef]

]. However, the small propagation length of SPPs (~30 µm in visible and ~300 µm in the near-infrared wavelength range for a silver-air interface [1

1. H. Raether, Surface Plasmons, (Springer, Berlin, 1988).

]) implies that the realization of photonic components based on SPPs is feasible only for ultra-compact devices (few hundred micrometers). Furthermore, the conventional end-fire coupling of radiation with single-mode fibers cannot be directly applied for SPP excitation and therefore, special techniques, such as prism or grating coupling, have to be used [1

1. H. Raether, Surface Plasmons, (Springer, Berlin, 1988).

].

Fig. 1. Schematic of the end-fire coupling technique for exciting LR-SPPs using a standard single-mode optical fiber.

However, it was found that the SPP mode supported by a symmetrical structure of a thin metal film embedded in dielectric (e.g., polymer) exhibits a significant increase in propagation length as the thickness of the metal film decreases with the mode approaching the plane wave supported by the dielectric background [8

8. D. Sarid, “Long-range surface-plasma waves on very thin metal films,” Phys. Rev. Lett. 47, 1927–1930 (1981). [CrossRef]

,9

9. J. J. Burke, G. I. Stegeman, and T. Tamir, “Surface-polariton-like waves guided by thin, lossy metal films,” Phys. Rev. B 33, 5186–5201 (1986). [CrossRef]

]. This mode, called a long-range SPP (LR-SPP), is formed by two coupled SPPs associated with the upper and lower metal-dielectric interfaces. When the metal film thickness decreases, the LR-SPP mode expands farther into dielectric not only decreasing its damping by metal but also facilitating the end-fire excitation [9

9. J. J. Burke, G. I. Stegeman, and T. Tamir, “Surface-polariton-like waves guided by thin, lossy metal films,” Phys. Rev. B 33, 5186–5201 (1986). [CrossRef]

]. Recently, LR-SPP propagation along thin metal stripes of finite widths embedded in a dielectric was studied both theoretically [10

10. P. Berini, “Plasmon polariton waves guided by thin lossy metal films of finite width: bound modes of symmetric structures,” Phys. Rev. B 61, 10484–10503, (2000). [CrossRef]

] and experimentally [11

11. R. Charbonneau, P. Berini, E. Berolo, and E. Lisicka-Shrzek, “Experimental observation of plasmon-polariton waves supported by a thin metal film of finite width,” Opt. Lett. 25, 844–846 (2000). [CrossRef]

,12

12. T. Nikolajsen, K. Leosson, I. Salakhutdinov, and S.I. Bozhevolnyi, “Polymer-based surface-plasmon polariton stripe waveguides at telecommunication wavelengths,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 82, 668–670 (2003). [CrossRef]

] showing low propagation loss and efficient coupling with single-mode fibers (Fig. 1).

LR-SPP stripe waveguides constitute thereby a new alternative for integrated optical (IO) circuits, which is very interesting and promising in a longer perspective due to the possibility of using the same metal-stripe circuitry for both guiding optical radiation and transmitting electrical signals that control its guidance. Indeed, different LR-SPP-based IO components including straight and bent waveguides, Y-splitters and couplers, have been experimentally demonstrated [13

13. A. Boltasseva, T. Nikolajsen, K. Leosson, K. Kjaer, M. S. Larsen, and S. I. Bozhevolnyi, “Integrated optical components utilizing long-range surface plasmon polaritons,” J. of Lightwave Techn. , 23, 413–422 (2005). [CrossRef]

,14

14. R. Charbonneau, N. Lahoud, G. Mattiussi, and P. Berini, “Demonstration of integrated optics elements based on long-ranging surface plasmon polaritons,” Opt. Express 13, 977–984 (2005). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

]. Moreover, efficient LR-SPP-based dynamic devices with low power consumption, including various modulators and switches, have been very recently realized utilizing the thermo-optic effect in the polymer cladding [15

15. T. Nikolajsen, K. Leosson, and S.I. Bozhevolnyi, “In-line extinction modulator based on long-range surface plasmon polaritons,” Opt. Commun. 244, 455 (2005). [CrossRef]

,16

16. T. Nikolajsen, K. Leosson, and S.I. Bozhevolnyi, “Surface plasmon polariton based modulators and switches operating at telecom wavelengths,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 85, 5833–5836 (2004). [CrossRef]

].

In this paper, we present the design, fabrication and investigation of compact Z-add-drop (ZAD) filters for LR-SPPs at telecom wavelengths and demonstrate a 10°-ZAD filter based on 80-µm-long gratings that exhibit a 15-dB dip (centered at ~1550 nm) in transmission of the direct arm along with the corresponding ~13-nm-wide transmission peak in the drop arm.

2. Design and fabrication

The main components of ZAD filters are diffraction gratings for LR-SPPs that are formed by periodically modulating the thickness of a metal film embedded in dielectric, so that the grating configuration represents periodic metal ridges protruding symmetrically above and below the metal film (Fig. 2). The idea is that the symmetric ridge configuration should minimize the LR-SPP scattering into asymmetric and high-loss (short-range) SPP modes.

Fig. 2. Schematic (side view) of the diffraction grating for LR-SPPs formed by periodic symmetric ridges protruding from a metal film embedded in dielectric.

The ZAD filter configuration consists of two ridge gratings formed at the intersections of straight stripe LR-SPP waveguides arranged in the zigzag fashion with different angles θ (10°, 20° and 30°) between the stripes (separation D between parallel stripes is 200 µm) (Fig. 3).

Fig. 3. Schematic (top view) of the ZAD filter configuration. Diffraction gratings are wider than stripes to secure efficient interaction with LR-SPPs.

To fabricate ZAD filter structures for LR-SPPs, a silicon substrate was first spin-coated with a 15-µm-thick BCB polymer (Benzocyclobutene) layer. Then, electron-beam lithography was used for the patterning of parallel ridges. After reactive-ion etching (RIE) of the BCB layer with the electron-beam resist as a mask, ridges were formed by gold deposition (thickness of htotal-see Fig. 2) and lift-off. To ensure the vertical symmetry of the structure, which is very important for the LR-SPP propagation [8

8. D. Sarid, “Long-range surface-plasma waves on very thin metal films,” Phys. Rev. Lett. 47, 1927–1930 (1981). [CrossRef]

], the etch depth was carefully measured and the appropriate gold thickness was chosen in order to obtain 20-nm-high ridges (htotal/2) placed symmetrically above and below the LR-SPP propagation plane. 40-µm-long ridges of different widths w (filling factors defined as a ratio between the ridge width and the grating period, w/Λ, ~0.3 and 0.4) were arranged in 500-nm-period gratings of different length having from 20 to 160 periods. After the grating fabrication, zigzagged stripes were patterned using standard UV lithography. A second metallization and lift-off was used to make 15-nm-thick (t) and 8-µm-wide gold stripes that were then spin-coated with another 15-µm-thick BCB layer. The resulting stripe LR-SPP waveguides were characterized at telecom wavelengths showing low propagation loss (~6 dB/cm) and efficient radiation (in/out) coupling with single-mode polarization-maintaining fibers (loss per coupling ~0.5 dB) [12

12. T. Nikolajsen, K. Leosson, I. Salakhutdinov, and S.I. Bozhevolnyi, “Polymer-based surface-plasmon polariton stripe waveguides at telecommunication wavelengths,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 82, 668–670 (2003). [CrossRef]

].

Fig. 4. Microscope image of the 500-nm-period grating with 20-nm-high gold ridges placed on the intersection of 8-µm-wide 15-nm-thick gold stripes crossing at the angle of 20°.

It should be noted that, in general, the diffraction grating while being efficient should be sufficiently short, i.e., much shorter than the length of intersection of the corresponding LR-SPP modes (incident and reflected one), otherwise the reflected radiation might become too wide to be efficiently coupled into the reflected LR-SPP mode. This circumstance implies that the grating efficiency per period should be maximized. Our preliminary investigations of the individual gratings oriented perpendicular to LR-SPP stripe waveguides showed that the grating efficiency increases with the increase of the ridge height until the height of ~20 nm, after which both transmission and reflection characteristics rapidly deteriorate when further increasing the ridge height.

3. Experimental arrangement and results

Optical characterization of the fabricated ZAD filters has been carried out using standard spectrally resolved transmission measurements. The light from a broadband source based on EE-LED diode (1.55 µm) was sent through a polarization controller (to adjust the electric field polarization perpendicular to the stripe-waveguide plane) and launched into the LR-SPP waveguide via butt-coupling from a polarization-maintaining single-mode fiber. 1 km of coiled standard single-mode fiber was used as out-coupling fiber in order to strip off all light coupled into the fiber cladding. The output signal was detected by an optical spectrum analyzer.

Transmission spectra were recorded in the wavelength range from 1500 to 1600 nm with a resolution of 0.5 nm and sensitivity of -80 dBm, and subsequently normalized to the transmission through a straight stripe waveguide (without gratings). Typical transmission spectra for the ZAD filter direct arm (Fig. 3) are shown in Fig. 5 for different grating lengths. It was found that, in general, the transmission exhibits the pronounced Bragg-grating behavior with the transmission dip increasing with the increase of the grating length [17

17. A. Yariv and P. Yeh, Optical Waves in Crystals (Wiley, New York, 1984).

]. For example, for the considered 20°-configuration, the transmission dip increases from ~0.5 dB for a 20-µm-long grating to ~17 dB for an 80-µm-long grating (Fig. 5). The evolution of the transmission spectra with the grating length when compared to the dielectric (Bragg) grating behavior [17

17. A. Yariv and P. Yeh, Optical Waves in Crystals (Wiley, New York, 1984).

] showed that the effective-index modulation in the investigated gratings was of the order of 0.01.

Fig.5. Transmission spectra for 20°-ZAD direct arms with 500-nm-period gratings of different lengths (indicated in grating periods). The gratings are characterized with the filling factor of 0.3 and the ridge height of 20 nm (on each side of the waveguide plane).

Fig. 6. Transmission spectra for ZAD direct arms with 40-µm-long gratings oriented at different angles θ with respect to the input stripe. All else is as in Fig. 5.

The overall performance of a 10°-ZAD filter configuration based on 80-µm-long gratings (filling factor ~0.4) is shown in Fig. 7. The transmission spectrum through the direct arm exhibits a 15-dB dip centered at ~1.55 µm, while the drop-arm transmission built up by double reflection from two gratings features a peak at around the same wavelength with a full-width-at-half-maximum (FWHM) of ~13 nm.

Fig. 7. Performance of the10°-ZAD filter configuration based on 80-µm-long gratings (filling factor ~0.4) showing both the direct and drop arm output spectra along with the total power (both direct and drop outputs) transmission spectrum. All else is as in Fig. 5.

4. Conclusions

Summarizing, we have designed, fabricated and investigated compact Z-add-drop (ZAD) filters for LR-SPPs at telecom wavelengths based on the folded double-grating configuration. The gratings represented ridge gratings formed by periodic gold thickness modulation at the intersections of three zigzag-crossed gold stripes embedded in polymer. We have investigated influence of the grating length and crossing angle on the transmission spectra and demonstrated the 10°-ZAD filter based on 80-µm-long gratings that exhibit a 15-dB dip (centered at ~1.55 µm) in transmission of the direct arm along with the corresponding peak in the drop arm having the FWHM of ~13 nm.

The effective index contrast in the investigated gratings was found (by comparing with dielectric Bragg gratings [17

17. A. Yariv and P. Yeh, Optical Waves in Crystals (Wiley, New York, 1984).

]) to be ~0.01, which is large enough for designing efficient and compact Bragg gratings, offering thereby certain advantages over their fiber counterparts. As an alternative to the integrated Bragg gratings, LR-SPP grating structures can provide both efficiency and compactness and can be easily integrated with couplers, splitters, and other LR-SPP-based waveguide components to be used for wavelength selective functions. We foresee therefore a great potential in the devices based on Bragg gratings involving LR-SPPs for variety of applications ranging from lasers with distributed feedback (DFB) and wavelength filters to biosensors. Moreover, for some applications (e.g. sensors based on light interference or DFB lasers), it might be advantageous that the LR-SPP-based components transmit only one polarization.

References and links

1.

H. Raether, Surface Plasmons, (Springer, Berlin, 1988).

2.

S. I. Bozhevolnyi and F. A. Pudonin, “Two-dimensional micro-optics of surface plasmons,” Phys. Rev. Lett. 78, 2823–2826 (1997). [CrossRef]

3.

H. Ditlbacher, J. R. Krenn, G. Schider, A. Leitner, and F. R. Aussenegg, “Two-dimensional optics with surface plasmon polaritons,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 81, 1762–1764 (2002). [CrossRef]

4.

S. I. Bozhevolnyi, J. Erland, K. Leosson, P. M. W. Skovgaard, and J. M. Hvam, “Waveguiding in surface plasmon polariton band gap structures,” Phys. Rev. Lett. 86, 3008–3011 (2001). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

5.

S.I. Bozhevolnyi, V.S. Volkov, and K. Leosson, “Localization and waveguiding of surface plasmon polaritons in random nanostructures,” Phys. Rev. Lett. 89, 186801 (2002). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

6.

W. L. Barnes, A. Dereux, and T. W. Ebbesen, “Surface plasmon subwavelength optics,” Nature 424, 824–830 (2003). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

7.

J.-C. Weeber, J. R. Krenn, A. Dereux, B. Lamprecht, Y. Lacroute, and J.-P. Goudonnet, “Near-field observation of surface plasmon polariton propagation on thin metal stripes,” Phys. Rev. B 64, 045411–9 (2001). [CrossRef]

8.

D. Sarid, “Long-range surface-plasma waves on very thin metal films,” Phys. Rev. Lett. 47, 1927–1930 (1981). [CrossRef]

9.

J. J. Burke, G. I. Stegeman, and T. Tamir, “Surface-polariton-like waves guided by thin, lossy metal films,” Phys. Rev. B 33, 5186–5201 (1986). [CrossRef]

10.

P. Berini, “Plasmon polariton waves guided by thin lossy metal films of finite width: bound modes of symmetric structures,” Phys. Rev. B 61, 10484–10503, (2000). [CrossRef]

11.

R. Charbonneau, P. Berini, E. Berolo, and E. Lisicka-Shrzek, “Experimental observation of plasmon-polariton waves supported by a thin metal film of finite width,” Opt. Lett. 25, 844–846 (2000). [CrossRef]

12.

T. Nikolajsen, K. Leosson, I. Salakhutdinov, and S.I. Bozhevolnyi, “Polymer-based surface-plasmon polariton stripe waveguides at telecommunication wavelengths,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 82, 668–670 (2003). [CrossRef]

13.

A. Boltasseva, T. Nikolajsen, K. Leosson, K. Kjaer, M. S. Larsen, and S. I. Bozhevolnyi, “Integrated optical components utilizing long-range surface plasmon polaritons,” J. of Lightwave Techn. , 23, 413–422 (2005). [CrossRef]

14.

R. Charbonneau, N. Lahoud, G. Mattiussi, and P. Berini, “Demonstration of integrated optics elements based on long-ranging surface plasmon polaritons,” Opt. Express 13, 977–984 (2005). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

15.

T. Nikolajsen, K. Leosson, and S.I. Bozhevolnyi, “In-line extinction modulator based on long-range surface plasmon polaritons,” Opt. Commun. 244, 455 (2005). [CrossRef]

16.

T. Nikolajsen, K. Leosson, and S.I. Bozhevolnyi, “Surface plasmon polariton based modulators and switches operating at telecom wavelengths,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 85, 5833–5836 (2004). [CrossRef]

17.

A. Yariv and P. Yeh, Optical Waves in Crystals (Wiley, New York, 1984).

OCIS Codes
(130.3120) Integrated optics : Integrated optics devices
(240.6680) Optics at surfaces : Surface plasmons
(290.4210) Scattering : Multiple scattering

ToC Category:
Research Papers

History
Original Manuscript: March 25, 2005
Revised Manuscript: May 20, 2005
Published: May 30, 2005

Citation
Alexandra Boltasseva, Sergey Bozhevolnyi, Thomas Søndergaard, Thomas Nikolajsen, and Kristjan Leosson, "Compact Z-add-drop wavelength filters for long-range surface plasmon polaritons," Opt. Express 13, 4237-4243 (2005)
http://www.opticsinfobase.org/oe/abstract.cfm?URI=oe-13-11-4237


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References

  1. H. Raether, Surface Plasmons, (Springer, Berlin, 1988).
  2. S. I. Bozhevolnyi and F. A. Pudonin, "Two-dimensional micro-optics of surface plasmons," Phys. Rev. Lett. 78, 2823-2826 (1997). [CrossRef]
  3. H. Ditlbacher, J. R. Krenn, G. Schider, A. Leitner, and F. R. Aussenegg, "Two-dimensional optics with surface plasmon polaritons," Appl. Phys. Lett. 81, 1762-1764 (2002). [CrossRef]
  4. S. I. Bozhevolnyi, J. Erland, K. Leosson, P. M. W. Skovgaard, and J. M. Hvam, "Waveguiding in surface plasmon polariton band gap structures," Phys. Rev. Lett. 86, 3008-3011 (2001). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  5. S.I. Bozhevolnyi, V.S. Volkov, K. Leosson, 'Localization and waveguiding of surface plasmon polaritons in random nanostructures,' Phys. Rev. Lett. 89, 186801 (2002). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  6. W. L. Barnes, A. Dereux, and T. W. Ebbesen, "Surface plasmon subwavelength optics," Nature 424, 824-830 (2003). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  7. J.-C. Weeber, J. R. Krenn, A. Dereux, B. Lamprecht, Y. Lacroute, and J.-P. Goudonnet, "Near-field observation of surface plasmon polariton propagation on thin metal stripes," Phys. Rev. B 64, 045411-9 (2001). [CrossRef]
  8. D. Sarid, "Long-range surface-plasma waves on very thin metal films," Phys. Rev. Lett. 47, 1927-1930 (1981). [CrossRef]
  9. J. J. Burke, G. I. Stegeman, T. Tamir, "Surface-polariton-like waves guided by thin, lossy metal films," Phys. Rev. B 33, 5186-5201 (1986). [CrossRef]
  10. P. Berini, "Plasmon polariton waves guided by thin lossy metal films of finite width: bound modes of symmetric structures," Phys. Rev. B 61, 10484-10503, (2000). [CrossRef]
  11. R. Charbonneau, P. Berini, E. Berolo, E. Lisicka-Shrzek, "Experimental observation of plasmon-polariton waves supported by a thin metal film of finite width," Opt. Lett. 25, 844-846 (2000). [CrossRef]
  12. T. Nikolajsen, K. Leosson, I. Salakhutdinov, and S.I. Bozhevolnyi, "Polymer-based surface-plasmon polariton stripe waveguides at telecommunication wavelengths," Appl. Phys. Lett. 82, 668-670 (2003). [CrossRef]
  13. A. Boltasseva, T. Nikolajsen, K. Leosson, K. Kjaer, M. S. Larsen, and S. I. Bozhevolnyi, "Integrated optical components utilizing long-range surface plasmon polaritons," J. of Lightwave Techn., 23, 413-422 (2005). [CrossRef]
  14. R. Charbonneau, N. Lahoud, G. Mattiussi, P. Berini, "Demonstration of integrated optics elements based on long-ranging surface plasmon polaritons," Opt. Express 13, 977-984 (2005). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  15. T. Nikolajsen, K. Leosson, S.I. Bozhevolnyi, "In-line extinction modulator based on long-range surface plasmon polaritons," Opt. Commun. 244, 455 (2005). [CrossRef]
  16. T. Nikolajsen, K. Leosson, S.I. Bozhevolnyi, "Surface plasmon polariton based modulators and switches operating at telecom wavelengths," Appl. Phys. Lett. 85, 5833-5836 (2004). [CrossRef]
  17. A. Yariv, P. Yeh, Optical Waves in Crystals (Wiley, New York, 1984).

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