Light trapping beyond the 4n^2 limit in thin waveguides

Light trapping beyond the 4n^2 limit in thin waveguides

Author(s):Jeremy N. Munday, Dennis M. Callahan, and Harry A. Atwater
Citation(s):Appl. Phys. Lett., 100, 121121 (2012)

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Abstract:   We describe a method for determining the maximum absorption enhancement in thin filmwaveguides based on optical dispersion relations. For thin film structures that support one, well-confined guided mode, we find that the absorption enhancement can surpass the traditional limit of 4n 2 when the propagation constant is large and/or the modal group velocity is small compared to the bulk value. We use this relationship as a guide to predicting structures that can exceed the 4n 2 light trapping limit, such as plasmonic and slot waveguides. Finally, we calculate the overall absorption for both single and multimode waveguides, and show examples of absorption enhancements in excess of 4n 2 for both cases.