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Laser inscribed waveguide optical isolators in iron-doped lithium niobate

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Abstract

There is a growing need for optical isolators that do not require a magnetic field, especially for uses such as on-chip optical devices and cold atom physics. As one approach, we propose using waveguides in photorefractive materials, such as ${{\rm Fe{:}LiNbO}_3}$, as optical isolator devices due to their unique asymmetric transmission properties that allow low loss transmission in one crystal orientation and attenuation in the flipped orientation. We utilize ultrafast laser inscription to fabricate photorefractive depressed cladding waveguides in ${{\rm Fe{:}LiNbO}_3}$ along the crystal $c$ axis to demonstrate the operation of ${{\rm Fe{:}LiNbO}_3}$ waveguide optical isolators. We show the ability to write transmission and reflection gratings into these waveguides that provide an isolation ratio of approximately 5000:1 per cm of path length.

© 2021 Optical Society of America

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