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Project TitleMethod for Fabrication of High Quality Factor (Q) Glass Microresonators
Track Code2013-009
Short Description

A simple and reliable new method for fabricating high-Q WGM optical microresonators in several mid-IR relevant glasses.

Abstract

This method represents a very practical method for creating spheres with minimal bulk and surface defects, and has already been demonstrated to make microspheres in several mid-IR fluoride glasses (including ZBLAN and InF3) with near spherical shape and intrinsic quality factors of > 3x10^6, close to the absorption limit of the glasses used. The Q values reported are nearly an order of magnitude larger than the best values reported previously.

 
TagsMicrowaves, optics, optoelectronics, photonics
 
Posted DateDec 8, 2014

Researcher

Name
Mani Hossein-Zadeh
Ravinder Jain

Manager

Name
Melissa Castillo

Background

High optical quality (high-Q) whispering-gallery mode (WGM) microresonators have strong potential for new photonic devices for a large variety of applications. Nevertheless, the unique characteristics of WGM’s have not been fully exploited in the mid-IR range, which is an important regime for molecular sensing applications. There has been significant success in the past on the fabrication of microresonators based on silica glasses, including demonstration of quality factors as high as 1010 at near-IR wavelengths. Unfortunately, due to the rapid increase in the attenuation of silica glasses at wavelengths longer than 2 microns, applications of silica microcavities are limited to wavelength in the near-IR spectral range.  Fluoride glasses such as ZBLAN, InF3 and AlF3 and chalcogenide glasses represent new optical media that have many advantages for the above-described applications when compared to traditional glass media such as silica.   Previous attempts on the fabrication of microspheres from such glasses -- based on conventional methods used for fabrication of silica microspheres -- have resulted in microspheres with poor surface quality due to significant differences between the physical and thermo-optical characteristics of such glasses and silica. Hence, there is a need to develop a new method to fabricate high optical quality whispering-gallery mode microresonators, especially for glasses used for mid-IR applications because of the intrinsic fragility and sensitivity of these glasses to numerous environmental conditions.

Technology Description

Researchers at the University of New Mexico have developed and demonstrated a simple and reliable new method for fabricating high-Q WGM optical microresonators in several mid-IR relevant glasses. This method represents a very practical method for creating spheres with minimal bulk and surface defects, and has already been demonstrated to make microspheres in several mid-IR fluoride glasses (including ZBLAN and InF3) with near spherical shape and intrinsic quality factors of > 3x106, close to the absorption limit of the glasses used. The Q values reported are nearly an order of magnitude larger than the best values reported previously.

Advantages/Applications

  • The high-Q microresonators are very promising for mid-IR spectroscopic sensor applications.
  • Microspheres made of heavily-rare-earth-doped mid-IR glasses similar to the ones used here should enable the demonstration of low-threshold, narrow-linewidth and compact mid-IR microsphere lasers and novel mid-IR luminescent light sources.
  • High-Q microresonators have strong potential for other advanced light sources, such as narrow-linewidth spectrally-structured luminescent light sources and comb generators, which in turn can lead to advanced sources for microwaves and THz radiation.

Publications

Way, B., Jain, R., and Hossein-Zadeh, M.  2012.  High-Q microresonators for mid-IR light sources and molecular sensors.  Optics Letters, 37(21): 4389-4391.  Retrieved from <http://www.opticsinfobase.org/ol/abstract.cfm?uri=ol-37-21-4389>.

INQUIRES

STC has filed intellectual property on this exciting new technology and is currently exploring commercialization options. If you are interested in information about this or other technologies, please contact Arlene Mirabal at amirabal@stc.unm.edu or 505-272-7886.

Files

File Name Description
9,285,535 Issued Patent None Download

Intellectual Property

Patent Number Issue Date Type Country of Filing
9,285,535 Mar 15, 2016 Utility United States