Optical surface waves on one-dimensional photonic crystals: investigation of loss mechanisms and demonstration of centimeter-scale propagation

Research paper by Babak Vosoughi Lahijani, Nicolas Descharmes, Raphael Barbey, Gael D. Osowiecki, Valentin J. Wittwer, Olga Razskazovskaya, Thomas Südmeyer, Hans Peter Herzig

Indexed on: 16 Apr '20Published on: 29 Jun '19Published in: arXiv - Physics - Optics


It has been predicted that optical surface waves at interfaces that separate purely dielectric media should be able to propagate over long distances, particularly over distances greater than possible with surface plasmon polaritons. Despite numerous studies, there has been no report of such an observation, and an estimate of the propagation length achievable with dielectric optical surface waves is yet to be provided. In this work, we focus on the propagation properties of optical modes supported at the free surface of a one-dimensional photonic crystal. The contributions of intrinsic and extrinsic loss mechanisms are discussed. The developed understanding is applied to the design of structures that are optimized to support long propagating optical surface waves. We experimentally demonstrate, for the first time, the existence of optical surface waves capable of propagating over centimeter-scale distances in the visible spectral range. This result opens new perspectives for the use of optical surface waves in integrated optics and for light-matter interactions at interfaces.