Fabrication of ceramic layer-by-layer infrared wavelength photonic band gap crystals
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Photonic band gap (PBG) crystals, also known as photonic crystals, are periodic dielectric structures which form a photonic band gap that prohibit the propagation of electromagnetic (EM) waves of certain frequencies at any incident angles. Photonic crystals have several potential applications including zero-threshold semiconductor lasers, the inhibiting spontaneous emission, dielectric mirrors, and wavelength filters. If defect states are introduced in the crystals, light can be guided from one location to another or even a sharp bending of light in submicron scale can be achieved. This generates the potential for optical waveguide and optical circuits, which will contribute to the improvement in the fiber-optic communications and the development of high-speed computers;The goal of this dissertation research is to explore techniques for fabricating 3D ceramic layer-by-layer (LBL) photonic crystals operating in the infrared frequency range, and to characterize the infilling materials properties that affect the fabrication process as well as the structural and optical properties of the crystals. While various approaches have been reported in literature for the fabrication of LBL structure, the uniqueness of this work ties with its cost-efficiency and relatively short process span. Besides, very few works have been reported on fabricating ceramic LBL crystals at mid-IR frequency range so far. The fabrication techniques reported here are mainly based on the concepts of microtransfer molding with the use of polydimethyl siloxane (PDMS) as molds/stamps. The infilling materials studied include titanium alkoxide precursors and aqueous suspensions of nanosize titania particles (slurries). Various infilling materials were synthesized to determine viscosities, effects on drying and firing shrinkages, effects on film surface roughness, and their moldability. Crystallization and phase transformation of the materials were also monitored using DTA, TGA and XRD. Mutilayer crystal structures of 2.5 and 1.0 mum periodicity have been successfully built. The structures of the fabricated crystals are inspected with scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and the optical characteristics are examined with optical microscopy and FtIR spectroscopy.