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Philos Trans A Math Phys Eng Sci. 2006 Jan 15;364(1838):189-99. doi: 10.1098/rsta.2005.1693.

Highly engineered mesoporous structures for optical processing.

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  • 1School of Electronics and Computer Science, The University of Southampton, Southampton SO17 1BJ, UK.


Arranging periodic, or quasi-periodic, regions of differing refractive index in one, two, or three dimensions can form a unique class of mesoporous structures. These structures are generally known as photonic crystals, or photonic quasicrystals, and they are the optical analogue of semiconducting materials. Whereas a semiconductor's band structure arises from the interaction of electron or hole waves with an arrangement of ion cores, the photonic crystal band structure results from the interaction of light waves with an arrangement of regions of differing refractive index. What makes photonic crystals highly attractive to the optical engineer is that we can actually place the regions of differing refractive index in a pattern specifically tailored to produce a given optical function, such as an extremely high dispersion, for example. That is, we can define the geometrical arrangement of the dielectric foam to provide us with the form of band structure we require for our optical functionality. In this paper, the optical properties and applications of these highly engineered mesoporous dielectrics will be discussed.

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