Ultrafast evolution of photonic eigenstates in k-space

Rob J.P. Engelen, Yoshimasa Sugimoto, H. Gersen, Naoki Ikeda, Kiyoshi Asakawa, L. Kuipers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

58 Citations (Scopus)


Periodic structures have a large influence on propagating waves. This holds for various types of waves over a large range of length scales: from electrons in atomic crystals1 and light in photonic crystals2, 3, 4 to acoustic waves in sonic crystals5. The eigenstates of these waves are best described with a band structure, which represents the relation between the energy and the wavevector (k). This relation is usually not straightforward: owing to the imposed periodicity, bands are folded into every Brillouin zone, inducing splitting of bands and the appearance of bandgaps. As a result, exciting phenomena such as negative refraction6, 7, auto-collimation of waves8, 9 and low group velocities10, 11, 12 arise. k-space investigations of electronic eigenstates have already yielded new insights into the behaviour of electrons at surfaces and in novel materials13, 14, 15, 16. However, for a complete characterization of a structure, an understanding of the mutual coupling of eigenstates is also essential. Here, we investigate the propagation of light pulses through a photonic crystal structure using a near-field microscope17, 18. Tracking the evolution of the photonic eigenstates in both k-space and time allows us to identify individual eigenstates and to uncover their dynamics and coupling to other eigenstates on femtosecond timescales even when co-localized in real space and time. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)401-405
Number of pages5
JournalNature physics
Publication statusPublished - 2007


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