ABSTRACT: Photonic Crystal Fibers (PCFs) have appeared as a new class of optical waveguides, which have attracted large scientific and commercial interest during the last years. PCFs are microstructured waveguides, usually in silica, with a large number of air holes located in the cladding region of the fiber. The size and location of these air holes opens up for a large degree of design freedom within optical waveguide design. Further, the existence of air holes in the PCF gives access close to the fiber core and by introducing new materials into the air holes, a high interaction between light and hole material can be obtained, while maintaining the microstructure of the waveguide. In this paper, we describe what we call Liquid Crystal Photonic Bandgap Fibers, which are PCFs infiltrated with Liquid Crystals (LCs) in order to obtain increased fiber functionality. We describe a thermo-optic fiber switch with an extinction ratio of 60dB and tunable PBGs using thermo-optic tuning of the LC. These devices operate by the PBG effect and are therefore highly sensitive to the refractive index distributions in the holes.
Optics Express 11/2003; 11(20):2589-96. · 3.59 Impact Factor