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Nature. 2002 May 2;417(6884):52-5.

All-metallic three-dimensional photonic crystals with a large infrared bandgap.

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MS 0603, Sandia National Laboratories, PO Box 5800, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87185, USA.


Three-dimensional (3D) metallic crystals are promising photonic bandgap structures: they can possess a large bandgap, new electromagnetic phenomena can be explored, and high-temperature (above 1,000 degrees C) applications may be possible. However, investigation of their photonic bandgap properties is challenging, especially in the infrared and visible spectrum, as metals are dispersive and absorbing in these regions. Studies of metallic photonic crystals have therefore mainly concentrated on microwave and millimetre wavelengths. Difficulties in fabricating 3D metallic crystals present another challenge, although emerging techniques such as self-assembly may help to resolve these problems. Here we report measurements and simulations of a 3D tungsten crystal that has a large photonic bandgap at infrared wavelengths (from about 8 to 20 microm). A very strong attenuation exists in the bandgap, approximately 30 dB per unit cell at 12 microm. These structures also possess other interesting optical properties; a sharp absorption peak is present at the photonic band edge, and a surprisingly large transmission is observed in the allowed band, below 6 microm. We propose that these 3D metallic photonic crystals can be used to integrate various photonic transport phenomena, allowing applications in thermophotovoltaics and blackbody emission.


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