Direct laser writing of three-dimensional photonic-crystal templates for telecommunications

Nat Mater. 2004 Jul;3(7):444-7. doi: 10.1038/nmat1155. Epub 2004 Jun 13.


The past decade has witnessed intensive research efforts related to the design and fabrication of photonic crystals. These periodically structured dielectric materials can represent the optical analogue of semiconductor crystals, and provide a novel platform for the realization of integrated photonics. Despite intensive efforts, inexpensive fabrication techniques for large-scale three-dimensional photonic crystals of high enough quality, with photonic bandgaps at near-infrared frequencies, and built-in functional elements for telecommunication applications, have been elusive. Direct laser writing by multiphoton polymerization of a photoresist has emerged as a technique for the rapid, cheap and flexible fabrication of nanostructures for photonics. In 1999, so-called layer-by-layer or woodpile photonic crystals were fabricated with a fundamental stop band at 3.9 microm wavelength. In 2002, a corresponding 1.9 microm was achieved, but the important face-centred-cubic (f.c.c.) symmetry was abandoned. Importantly, fundamental stop bands or photonic bandgaps at telecommunication wavelengths have not been demonstrated. In this letter, we report the fabrication--through direct laser writing--and detailed characterization of high-quality large-scale f.c.c. layer-by-layer structures, with fundamental stop bands ranging from 1.3 to 1.7 microm.