Materials & Chemicals
Electro-Optic Optical Elements
Inventors: Leon McCaughan, Thomas Kuech, Dovas Saulys, Vladimir Joshkin, Aref Chowdhury, Chad Staus
The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) is seeking commercial partners interested in developing electro-optic elements formed in metal oxide films.
Ferroelectric materials, such as crystalline lithium niobate, are very useful for fabricating a variety of optical and electronic devices, including optical switches and modulators, frequency switching devices, polarized controllers, pulsed waveguide lasers, surface-acoustic-wave filters and acousto-optic devices. Other useful properties of these materials include their piezoelectric, elasto-optic and pyroelectric characteristics.
UW-Madison researchers have developed electro-optic elements formed in metal oxide films, particularly lithium niobate, for use in electro-optic devices. These elements are fabricated through a process in which lithium niobate is deposited as an amorphous thin-film onto a lithium niobate substrate, patterned and etched by conventional techniques, and then annealed to a crystalline state suitable for electro-optic applications (see WARF reference number P01007US). Because amorphous lithium niobate is easily etched and otherwise manipulated, trenches and other features in the electro-optic elements can be easily designed to improve device performance. In particular, this invention includes traveling wave modulators whose topographical features can be selected to achieve higher bit rate functioning than conventional devices.
- Polarization rotators and scramblers
- Lithium niobate electro-optics switches
- Lithium niobate surface-acoustic-wave filters that are widely used as electrical filters in televisions and cell phones
- Topographical flexibility of the electro-optic elements allows the performance of lithium niobate-based electro-optic devices to be readily optimized.
- In traveling wave modulators, optical and microwave properties of the elements can be selected to achieve optimization of all performance parameters simultaneously.