Enhancing Optical Forces in InP-Based Waveguides

Mohammad Esmail Aryaee Panah, Elizaveta Semenova, Andrei Lavrinenko

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Cantilever sensors are among the most important microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), which are usually actuated by electrostatic forces or piezoelectric elements. Although well-developed microfabrication technology has made silicon the prevailing material for MEMS, unique properties of other materials are overlooked in this context. Here we investigate optically induced forces exerted upon a semi-insulating InP waveguide suspended above a highly doped InP: Si substrate, in three different regimes: the epsilon-near-zero (ENZ), with excitation of surface plasmon polaritons (SPPs) and phonons excitation. An order of magnitude amplification of the force is observed when light is coupled to SPPs, and three orders of magnitude amplification is achieved in the phonon excitation regime. In the ENZ regime, the force is found to be repulsive and higher than that in a waveguide suspended above a dielectric substrate. Low losses in InP: Si result in a big propagation length. The induced deflection can be detected by measuring the phase change of the light when passing through the waveguide, which enables all-optical functioning, and paves the way towards integration and miniaturization of micro-cantilevers. In addition, tunability of the ENZ and the SPP excitation wavelength ranges, via adjusting the carrier concentration, provides an extra degree of freedom for designing MEMS devices.
Original languageEnglish
Article number3106
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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