Phononic Crystal Waveguiding in GaAs
Azodi Aval, Golnaz
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Compared to the much more common photonic crystals that are used to manipulate light, phononic crystals (PnCs) with inclusions in a lattice can be used to manipulate sound. While trying to propagate in a periodically structured media, acoustic waves may experience geometries in which propagation forward is totally forbidden. Furthermore, defects in the periodicity can be used to confine acoustic waves to follow complicated routes on a wavelength scale. Using advanced fabrication methods, we aim to implement these structures to control surface acoustic wave (SAW) propagation on the piezoelectric surface and eventually interact SAWs with quantum structures. To investigate the interaction of SAWs with periodic elastic structures, SAW interdigital transducers (IDTs) and PnC fabrication procedures were developed. GaAs is chosen as a piezoelectric substrate for SAWs propagation. Lift-off photolithography processes were used to fabricate IDTs with finger widths as low as 1.5 micron. PnCs are periodic structures of shallow air holes created in GaAs substrate by means of a wet-etching process. The PnCs are square lattices with lattice constants of 8 and 4 micron. To predict the behavior of a SAW when interacting with the PnC structures, an FDTD simulator was used to calculate the band structures and SAW wave displacement on the crystal surface. The bandgap (BG) predicted for the 8 micron crystal ranges from 180 MHz to 220 MHz. Simulations show a shift in the BG position for 4 micron crystals ranging from 391 to 439 MHz. Two main waveguide geometries were considered in this work: a simple line waveguide and a funneling entrance line waveguide. Simulations indicated an increase in acoustic power density for the funneling waveguides. Fabricated device evaluated with electrical measurements. In addition, a scanning Sagnac interferometer is used to map the energy density of the SAWs. The Sagnac interferometer is designed to measure the outward displacement of a surface due to the SAW. Interferometric measurements confirmed waveguiding in the modified funnel entrance waveguide embedded in the 4 micron PnC. However, they also revealed strong dissipation of the SAW in the waveguide due to the non-vertical sidewalls resulting from the wet-etch process.