We have studied the dispersion of ultrafast pulses in a photonic crystal waveguide as a function of optical frequency, in both experiment and theory. With phase-sensitive and time-resolved near-field microscopy, the light was probed inside the waveguide in a non-invasive manner. The effect of dispersion on the shape of the pulses was determined. As the optical frequency decreased, the group velocity decreased. Simultaneously, the measured pulses were broadened during propagation, due to an increase in group velocity dispersion. On top of that, the pulses exhibited a strong asymmetric distortion as the propagation distance increased. The asymmetry increased as the group velocity decreased. The asymmetry of the pulses is caused by a strong increase of higher order dispersion. As the group velocity was reduced to 0.116(9) ·c, we found group velocity dispersion of -1.1(3) ·106 ps2/km and third order dispersion of up to 1.1(4) ·105 ps3/km. We have modelled our interferometric measurements and included the full dispersion of the photonic crystal waveguide. Our mathematical model and the experimental findings showed a good correspondence. Our findings show that if the most commonly used slow light regime in photonic crystals is to be exploited, great care has to be taken about higher-order dispersion.

Opt. Express

Engelen, R. J. P., Sugimoto, Y., Watanabe, Y., Korterik, J. P., Ikeda, N., van Hulst, N. F., … Kuipers, K. (2006). The effect of higher-order dispersion on slow light propagation in photonic crystal waveguides. Opt. Express, 14(4), 1658–1672. doi:10.1364/OE.14.001658