An experimental study of proton-exchanged lithium niobate optical waveguides.
PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.
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The object of this thesis is to form an understanding of the origin of the problems associated with proton-exchanged waveguides, and to investigate possible solutions. Chapter 1 gives a brief introduction to the properties of lithium niobate, and discusses the methods available for fabricating optical waveguides in the bulk material, with particular emphasis on waveguide fabrication by the proton-exchange process. Some of the devices which have been fabricated by proton-exchange are discussed. The problems associated with proton-exchanged waveguides are reviewed. Chapter 2 deals with the physical and chemical characterisation of proton-exchanged waveguides fabricated using neat benzoic acid melts. The extent of proton-exchange is determined as a function of fabrication time and temperature using optical waveguide prism-coupler measurements, infrared absorption spectroscopy, and atomic absorption spectroscopy. Chapter 3 is concerned with the problem of waveguide mode-index stability. Using a hydrogen isotopic-exchange reaction, the extent of which is obsrved via infrared absorption spectroscopy, information on the (room-temperature) mobility of protons within the guiding layer is obtained for waveguides fabricated using neat benzoic acid melts. The recently reported process of fabricating waveguides in lithium niobate by deuterium-exchange is investigated. The behaviour of proton-exchanged and deuterium-exchanged waveguides with respect to reaction with atmospheric water vapour is investigated, and the optical properties of deuterium-exchanged waveguides are studied. In Chapter 4, a study of annealed and dilute-melt proton-exchanged waveguides is presented. It is shown, using prism-coupler measurements and infrared absorption spectroscopy, that ennealed and dilute-melt waveguides can have very similar optical properties, depending on the amount of annealing and the lithium benzoate mole-fractions used. The extent of proton-exchange is determined with time (between 215oC and 235oC) for dilute-melt waveguides produced using lithium benzoate mole-fractions of up to 1.1%. Isotopic-exchange in annealed and dilute-melt waveguides is also investigated, both at room-temperature and at temperatures commonly used for annealing. A possible explanation for the poor optical properties of (neat-melt) proton-exchanged waveguides is given. Chapter 5 deals with a study of propagation losses (using the two-prism method) and the electro-optic effect in x- and z-cut proton-exchanged waveguides. Measurements of r33 (in proton-exchanged waveguides) and r22 (in titanium-indiffused waveguides) are carried out using an external interferometric method designed by the author. The results of Chapter 4 are used to establish a method by which losses below 0.5dB/cm and a substantially restored electro-optic effect can be achieved (using a combination of dilute-melt fabrication with post-exchange annealing). Prior to the waveguide measurements, the bulk electro-optic effect is investigated for congruent, incongruent, MgO-doped, and annealed (high-temperature) crystals. Finally, in Chapter 6, a summary of the thesis is presented, and suggestions for future work are given.
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