Engineering photonic and plasmonic light emission enhancement
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Semiconductor photonic devices are a rapidly maturing technology which currently occupy multi-billion dollar markets in the areas of LED lighting and optical data communication. LEDs currently demonstrate the highest luminous efficiency of any light source for general lighting. Long-haul optical data communication currently forms the backbone of the global communication network. Proper design of light management is required for photonic devices, which can increase the overall efficiency or add new device functionality. In this thesis, novel methods for the control of light propagation and confinement are developed for the use in integrated photonic devices. The first part of this work focuses on the engineering of field confinement within deep subwavelength plasmonic resonators for the enhancement of light-matter interaction. In this section, plasmonic ring nanocavities are shown to form gap plasmon modes confined to the dielectric region between two metal layers. The scattering properties, near-field enhancement and photonic density of states of nanocavity devices are studied using analytic theory and 3D finite difference time domain simulations. Plasmonic ring nanocavities are fabricated and characterized using photoluminescence intensity and decay rate measurements. A 25 times increase in the radiative decay rate of Er:Si02 is demonstrated in nanocavities where light is confined to volumes as small as 0.01(λ/n)^3 . The potential to achieve lasing, due to the enhancement of stimulated emission rate in ring nanocavities, is studied as a route to Si-compatible plasmon-enhanced nanolasers. The second part of this work focuses on the manipulation of light generated in planar semiconductor devices using arrays of dielectric nanopillars. In particular, aperiodic arrays of nanopillars are engineered for omnidirectional light extraction enhancement. Arrays of Er:SiNx nanopillars are fabricated and a ten times increase in light extraction is experimentally demonstrated, while simultaneously controlling far-field radiation patterns in ways not possible with periodic arrays. Additionally, analytical scalar diffraction theory is used to study light propagation from Vogel spiral arrays and demonstrate generation of OAM. Using phase shifting interferometry, the presence of OAM is experimentally verified. The use of Vogel spirals presents a new method for the generation of OAM with applications for secure optical communications.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Boston University