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Free-space-coupled wavelength-scale disk resonators

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posted on 2023-01-12, 15:28 authored by Babak Mirzapourbeinekalaye, Sarath Samudrala, Mahdad Mansouree, Andrew McClung, Amir Arbabi
Optical microresonators with low quality factor ($Q$) can be efficiently excited by and scatter freely propagating optical waves, but those with high $Q$ typically cannot. Here, we present a universal model for resonators interacting with freely propagating waves and show that the stored energy of a resonator excited by a plane wave is proportional to the product of its $Q$ and directivity. Guided by this result, we devise a microdisk with periodic protrusions in its circumference that couples efficiently to normally incident plane waves. We experimentally demonstrate several microdisk designs, including one with a radius of $0.75{\lambda_0}$ and $Q$ of 15,000. Our observation of thermally-induced bistability in this resonator at input powers as low as 0.7 mW confirms strong excitation. Their small footprints and mode volumes and the simplicity of their excitation and fabrication make wavelength-scale, free-space-coupled microdisks attractive for sensing, enhancing emission and nonlinearity, and as micro-laser cavities.

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