Micro-Optical Elements in Gallium Arsenide and Diamond: Fabrication and Applications

University dissertation from Uppsala : Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis

Abstract: This thesis mainly treats the fabrication and applications of micro-optical elements in the semiconductor materials gallium arsenide (GaAs) and diamond.The recent trend in high-capacity data transfer using light as the information carrier creates new demands on the optoelectronic systems, such as small size, low cost and the integration of many components. Micro-optical components are key elements for building compact optoelectronic systems and are well suited for integration with other devices. Another area where micro-optical elements can play an important role is the use of lasers in medicine, industrial machining, metrology, etc. In most cases, the laser beam characteristic is not directly suited for the application and external optics is needed to focus, shape or split the laser beam.In the first part of this thesis, the fabrication of continuous-relief diffractive optical elements, such as diffractive lenses and blazed gratings, in GaAs is examined. The manufacturing technology uses electron-beam lithography followed by plasma etching in an inductively coupled plasma etching system. In the next step, these diffractive elements were monolithically integrated with vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers.In the second part of this thesis a novel topic is examined, diamond micro-optics. Diamond is a unique material in many aspects, it is the hardest material mankind knows, it has an extremely wide optical transmission window, and it possesses the highest thermal conductivity of all solids. Until today, due to difficulties in machining diamond, the realization of diamond optics has been limited. By using the same technology we earlier developed for the fabrication of GaAs optics we demonstrate for the first time continuous-relief structures in diamond of optical quality. Several diamond micro-optical structures are presented; sub-wavelength gratings for reduction of unwanted Fresnel reflections, diffractive fan-out elements used to split a CO2-laser beam and refractive microlens arrays.The accuracy of the fabrication process by plasma etching was evaluated by optical and topographical measurements, in all cases the optical components were of very high quality.