Optical Studies of Periodic Microstructures in Polar Materials

University dissertation from Uppsala : Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis

Abstract: The optical properties of matter are determined by the coupling of the incident electromagnetic radiation to oscillators within the material. The oscillators can be electrons, ions or molecules. Close to a resonance the dielectric function exhibits strong dispersion and may be negative. A negative dielectric function gives rise to a complex wave vector which is associated with no allowed states for photons, i.e. high extinction and bulk reflectance, as well as the possibility to support surface waves.It is possible to manufacture a dielectric material that generates a complex wave vector. Such materials are called photonic crystals and they may exhibit a frequency range without allowed states for photons, i.e. an energy gap. A photonic crystal has a periodically varying dielectric function and the lattice constant is of the same order of magnitude as the wavelengths of the gap.In this thesis, two optical phenomena causing a complex wave vector are combined. Polar materials, which have lattice resonance in the thermal infrared causing strong dispersion, are studied in combination with a periodic structure. The periodicity introduced is achieved using another material, but also by structuring of the polar material. One, two and three dimensional structures are considered. The polar materials used are silicon dioxide and silicon carbide. It is shown, both by calculations and experiments that the two optical phenomena can co-exist and interact, both constructively and destructively. A possible application for the combination of the two phenomena is discussed: Selective emittance in the thermal infrared. It is also shown that a polar material can be periodically structured by a focused ion beam in such way that it excites surface waves.

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