Controlling emission and propagation of light with photonic band gap crystals

Elahe Yeganegi Dastgerdi

Research output: ThesisPhD Thesis - Research UT, graduation UT

149 Downloads (Pure)


In certain three-dimensional crystals, a frequency range exist for all polarizations for which light is not allowed to propagate in any direction, called the 3D photonic band gap: a frequency range where the density of vacuum fluctuations vanishes in an ideal infinitely large and perfect system. The complete absence of vacuum fluctuations can be interpreted as zero density of states and vice versa. It is well known that the characteristics of spontaneous emission of light depend strongly on the environment of the light source. According to quantum electrodynamics, the emission rate of a two-level quantum emitter as described by Fermi’s “golden rule”, is factorized into one part describing the emitter’s properties and a second part describing the effect of the environment on the light field via the local density of optical state (LDOS). The radiative decay rate of the emitters is proportional to the LDOS. The absence of vacuum fluctuations or the zero LDOS leads to complete inhibition of the spontaneous emission. While many great advances towards a band gap have been made, no complete inhibition has ever been observed to date. In this thesis, for the first time, we have studied the spontaneous emission of PbS quantum dots inside real 3D photonic band gap crystal as a function of frequency throughout the band gap. In our experiments we have observed an inhibited emission of 18x in the band gap. The time-resolved decay curves show evidence for intriguing finite-size effects whereby vacuum fluctuations tunnel into the band gap. Unfortunately, most theories assume crystals of infinite extent, where the inhibition in the band gap is also infinite, as vacuum fluctuations don’t exist inside the crystal. Here we propose an original model to calculate the LDOS in the band gap of a finite photonic crystal based on tunneling of the vacuum fluctuations into the crystal. We validate our model for the one-dimensional situation with a direct comparison to the analytic calculations which exist for one-dimensional photonic crystals. For three dimensional crystals, the theory shows an excellent match to the experiment.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • University of Twente
  • Vos, Willem L., Supervisor
  • Lagendijk, Ad, Supervisor
Award date1 Oct 2014
Place of PublicationEnschede
Print ISBNs978-94-6108-765-2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2014


Dive into the research topics of 'Controlling emission and propagation of light with photonic band gap crystals'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this