Symmetries and Wavefunctions of Photons Confined in 3D Photonic Band Gap Superlattices

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We perform a computational study of confined photonic states that appear in a three-dimensional (3D) superlattice of coupled cavities, resulting from a superstructure of intentional defects. The states are isolated from the vacuum by a 3D photonic band gap, using a diamond-like inverse woodpile crystal structure, and exhibit 'Cartesian' hopping of photons in high-symmetry directions. We investigate the confinement dimensionality to verify which states are fully 3D confined, using a recently developed scaling theory to analyze the influence of the structural parameters of the 3D crystal. We create confinement maps that trace the frequencies of 3D confined bands for select combinations of key structural parameters, namely the pore radii of the underlying regular crystal and of the defect pores. We find that a certain minimum difference between the regular and defect pore radii is necessary for 3D confined bands to appear, and that an increasing difference between the defect pore radii from the regular radii supports more 3D confined bands. In our analysis we find that their symmetries and spatial distributions are more varied than electronic orbitals known from solid state physics. We also discover pairs of degenerate 3D confined bands with p-like orbital shapes and mirror symmetries matching the symmetry of the superlattice. Finally, we investigate the enhancement of the local density of optical states (LDOS) for cavity quantum electrodynamics (cQED) applications. We find that donor-like superlattices, i.e., where the defect pores are smaller than the regular pores, provide greater enhancement in the air region than acceptor-like structures with larger defect pores, and thus offer better prospects for doping with quantum dots and ultimately for 3D networks of single photons steered across strongly-coupled cavities.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 29 Nov 2023


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