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Rib waveguides based on Zn-substituted LiNbO3 films grown by liquid phase epitaxy

: Dubs, C.; Ruske, J.-P.; Kräußlich, J.; Tünnermann, A.


Optical materials 31 (2009), No.11, pp.1650-1657
ISSN: 0925-3467
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IOF ()
rib waveguide; lithium-niobate; LiNbO3; epitaxial film; liquid phase epitaxy

The fabrication of epitaxially grown Zn-substituted LiNbO3 (Zn:LiNbO3) waveguide films and rib waveguides is reported and detailed investigations about microstructure, morphology and optical waveguide properties are provided. Zn:LiNbO3 films were grown on congruent X-cut LiNbO3 substrates by a modified liquid phase epitaxy in solid-liquid coexisting solutions. The homogeneously Zn-substituted films exhibit high crystalline perfection and extremely flat surfaces with averaged surface roughness of rms = 0.2-0.3 nm. At the film/substrate interface a Zn-containing transient layer has been observed, which allows the growth of elastically strained Zn:LiNbO3 film lattices. X-ray diffraction reciprocal-space measurements prove the pseudomorphic film growth. The refractive index difference between substrate and film depends on the zinc substitution content, which increase with rising growth temperatures. For films with 5.3 mol% Zn (Delta n(o) approximate to +5 x 10(-3)) only ordinary ray propagation was observed, while for films with 7.5 mol% Zn (Delta n(o) approximate to +8 x 10(-3), Delta n(e) approximate to +5 x 10(-3)) both modes, TM and TE propagate. Stress-induced refractive index changes are in the order of Delta n approximate to 10(-4). In rib waveguide microstructures singlemode propagation with nearly symmetrical field distribution has been observed. To demonstrate the potential of the proton exchange-assisted dry-etching technique interferometer microstructures were fabricated.