The recent decade has seen an explosion of optical communication. Yet much of the information processing is conducted electronically since there have been few truly tunable optical devices. Ferroelectric materials offer a potential solution. They possess interesting nonlinear properties that can be used to design and fabricate unique active tunable nanophotonic devices. Photonic crystals are synthetic hetero-structures that provide an unprecedented ability to manipulate light including slowing down and reflecting selected frequencies. These structures are typically fabricated using glass and their properties are fixed. The calculations conducted in our interdisciplinary research group on Ferroelectric Nanophotonic Materials show that we can make such devices tunable by fabricating them out of ferroelectric materials. The first figure on the left shows the first ever ferroelectric photonic crystal fabricated on a thin film.
The nonlinear properties of ferroelectrics also provide tunability to other nanophotonic devices. The images on the right show the use of ferroelectric films on toroidal resonators. These were fabricated using CSEM facilities.