Optical Bloch waves in a semiconductor photonic lattice

P. L. Gourley, M. E. Warren, G. A. Vawter, T. M. Brennan, B. E. Hammons

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15 Scopus citations


We have observed multiple optical Bloch waves in a semiconductor photonic lattice. This photonic lattice comprises epitaxial quarter-wave periodic layers surrounding a periodic quantum-well region. After growth, the layers are structured laterally into periodic square unit cells by reactive-ion-beam etching. When photoexcited, the lattice emits a complex angular distribution of photons that reflects its periodic structure. Scattered light is distributed according to the Laue conditions in analogy with x-ray diffraction from a bulk crystal. Optical Bloch waves photostimulated in the lattice are analogous to electron Bloch waves in an atomic lattice. These optical Bloch waves exhibit long-range translational symmetry and local symmetry due to the shape of the unit cell. Interestingly, the far-field pattern of stimulated emission gives a direct mapping of the allowed Bloch wave vectors in the Brillouin zone. The mapping exhibits a wave-vector gap at the Bragg condition and may be associated with a photonic energy gap. In addition to measuring the intensity distribution of these Bloch waves, we directly measure the phase of the wave by polarization shearing interferometry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2714-2716
Number of pages3
JournalApplied Physics Letters
Issue number22
StatePublished - 1992
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)


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