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Proceedings of IWNA 2011, November 10-12, 2011, Vung Tau, Vietnam .



Quang Ngoc Hieu and Dao Ngoc Chien 1)

School of Electronics and Telecommunications, Hanoi University of Science and Technology
1 Dai Co Viet, Hai Ba Trung District, Hanoi, Vietnam

In this paper, we present a novel directional coupler and Mach-Zehnder interferometer based on metaldielectric-metal plasmonic waveguide and Pockels effect material. The dependence of output field intensity
of these devices on their parameters is investigated by numerical simulation method using finite-difference
time-domain method (FDTD). Here, Mach-Zehnder interferometer is built with one branch arm filled with
Pockels effect material-BaTiO3 to control light by external electromagnetic field. By using this material, the
size of device can be reduced. A Mach-Zehnder interferometer is designed with total size of 4.2 m and the
use of an external voltage of 3.53 V to control light at operating wavelength of 1.55 m.
Keywords: Surface plasmon; Mach-Zehnder interferometer; Directional coupler; Integrated optics.
Surface plasmon polaritons (SPPs) are
electromagnetic excitations propagating at the
interface between a dielectric layer and a metal
layer due to the interaction between the free
surface electron and incident photon [1]. This
helps to solve the problem due to the refraction
limit of light about the miniaturization and highdensity integration of photonic circuits. In recent
years, many structures of surface plasmonic
waveguide are suggested and demonstrated, such
as dielectric-metal-dielectric (DMD), metaldielectric-metal (MDM), dielectric-loaded surface
plasmon polaritons waveguide (DLSPPW) [2-3].
In these structures, the MDM has less propagation
length than others but it can confine the light in
the dielectric region more than others. So that, size
of dielectric region can be much smaller than
wavelength propagated through it. This
phenomenon allows to achieve nanoscale photonic
Based on the MDM plasmonic waveguide,
many photonic elements and devices have
proposed such as: S-bends, Y-combiners,
directional couplers (DCs), and Mach-Zehder
interferometers (MZIs) [4-11]. They are
considered as the platform of photonic circuits and
signal processing. In this paper, a DC is designed
as a 3 dB coupler, which is used to split light into
two same beams and to combine two beams into
one beam. Based on the DCs, a Mach-Zehnder
interferometer is produced by connecting two DCs
at two branch arms, in which one arm is filled by
Pockels effect material. Pokels effect is linear
electro-optic effect, which refers to change of

refractive index of material due to the external

electromagnetic field [12-13]. This material has
been built to ensure controlling light by an
external electromagnetic field. As its properties,
with a small external electric field, the change of
its refractive index is large. Consequently, light
can be controlled by a little external field. It helps
to reduce the consumed power and the size of
devices. Here, two-dimentional FDTD method is
used to investigate the dependence of output field
on the parameters of these devices. As a result, a
MZI is designed with a total length of 4.2 m and
a voltage of 3.53 V used to control light at the
wavelength of 1.55 m.
1. Directional coupler based on MDM
plasmonic waveguide.
MDM plasmonic waveguide is taken into
account, where a dielectric strip is sandwiched in
silver material creating two dielectric-metal
interfaces. In this configuration, the decaying SPP
mode at each interface interacts with other to
create a confined light in the dielectric region.
Because of this reason, the waveguide can be
much smaller than the operating wavelength. The
propagation length and effective index of this
structure are shown in Fig.1. As can be seen, with
Si-slot is of 40 nm and the operating wavelength is
of 1.55m, the effective index will be 2.066 while
the propagation length is of 7.6 m.
As a composite waveguide structure, two
identical parallel slot waveguides are separated by
a distance d. The slots are connected to two

Proceedings of IWNA 2011, November 10-12, 2011, Vung Tau, Vietnam .

parallel dielectric waveguides with 420 nm centerto-center separation by 600 nm-long S-bends (see
Fig. 2). If the gap width d is small enough, the
power can be transferred from one slot to other.
For this reason, this structure is called directional
coupler (DC).

Fig.1. (a) Propagation length and (b) effective

index of MDM waveguide.

output field intensities at port 3 and 4 are equal

and reach maximum value. In this case, the
distribution of electromagnetic field is shown in
Fig.4. As a result, a DC is designed with total
length of 1.79 m which is slightly larger than

Fig.3. Dependence of the output field intensity on

the interaction length L (a) and the operating
wavelength s (b).

Fig.2. Structure of directional coupler.

In this paper, DC is designed as a 3 dB coupler
which is used to split the light into two same
beams. When the signal is injected into port 1, it is
split into two beams and their intensity is equal.
To investigate the dependence of the field
intensity of DC on its parameters such as:
interaction length L, the operating wavelength s,
the DC is numerically simulated by using the 2-D
FDTD method. The results are shown in Fig.3.
From Fig. 3, with the operating wavelength of
1.55 m and interaction length of 590 nm, the

Fig.4. Distribution of the electromagnetic field in

the directional coupler: (a) magnetic field and (b)
electronic field.
2. Mach-Zehnder interferometer using linear

electro-optic effect
2.1 The electro-optic effect of BaTiO3 crystal

Proceedings of IWNA 2011, November 10-12, 2011, Vung Tau, Vietnam .

Electro-optic (EO) effect refers the change of

the refractive index of a material induced by the
application of an external electric field [22, 23].
This effect is called Pockels effect and can be
expressed as:

) = rij Ek


where rij is the EO coefficient and Ek is the

component of the applied electric field. When the
electric field is applied along the x-axis, the
change of refractive index is:

ne3r42 Ex
nz = ne
= ne
= ne nz (2)
From (2), the change of refractive index is linear
with the external field intensity. For BaTiO3
crystal, its EO coefficient is very high, in
particular with r42 = 1600 pm/V and its refractive
index is of 2.3 (The EO coefficient of BaTiO3 can
be manufactured with r42 = 1920 pm/V). So that,
with a small applied electric field, the change of
refractive index can be large. This can help to
reduce the size of the phase modulator and the
controlled voltage.
2.2 Mach-Zehnder interferometer
Mach-Zhender interferometer is created by
connecting two directional couplers at two branch
arms (arm-1, arm_2), in which one of them (arm2) is filled with Pockels effect material arm 2 (see
In this structure, the parameters of DC are the
same as appeared in literatures and BaTiO3 is
used as Pockels linear material due to its high
electro-optic coefficient. When a TM-polarized
continuous wave at wavelength of 1.55 m is
injected into port 1, it is splitted into two same
beams by the first coupler.

Fig.6. (a) The distribution of electromagnetic field

in MZI when has: no applied voltage (a) and an
applied voltage (b).
After propagating through the two branch arms,
two signals are combined at the second coupler. If
two signals at input of the second coupler are in
phase, the combined signal occurs at port 3. If the
signals are out of phase, the output signal occurs
at port 4. Therefore, by modifying the phase shift
between two arms, we can control the light
propagated through the MZI. As a result of phase
modulation, the phase shift of signal between two
arms can be calculated by:

Fig.5. Structure of Mach-Zehnder interferometer

2 neff (n) L


where neff is the difference of the effective index

between two arms and L is length of a branch arm.
For BaTiO3, the change of refractive index
dependences on the external field which was
described in (2) leading to the change of the

Proceedings of IWNA 2011, November 10-12, 2011, Vung Tau, Vietnam .

refractive index and the phase shift . As a

result, this makes the output field change. So, the
output light can be controlled by the external
electromagnetic field. Based on the literatures [23], we can calculate two values of L and of V.
When V = 0 (Volt), from Eq. 3 with = , L is
calculated equally to 620 nm. Then, with = 0,
V is calculated equally to 3.53 V. The distribution
of field on two cases is shown in Fig. 6.

Fig.7. Output field of MZI with the various length

(a) and the various refractive index (b).
To check the exactness of the calculated
results, MZI is investigated in two cases. Case 1:
The refractive index of arm 2 is 2.3 and its length
is various. Case 2: the length of a branch arm is
620 nm and its refractive index is various. The
results are shown in Fig. 7. From Fig. 7, we can
see that the calculated and simulated results are
equal. Thus, a MZI is designed with total length of
4.2 m and used a voltage of 3.53 V to control
light. The size of MZI is just larger than two times
of wavelength for nanophotonic applications.
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