Light: Science and Applications

High-finesse Fabry-Perot cavities with bidimensional Si3N4 photonic-crystal slabs

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Light scattering by a two-dimensional photonic-crystal slab (PCS) can result in marked interference effects associated with Fano resonances. Such devices offer appealing alternatives to distributed Bragg reflectors and filters for various applications, such as optical wavelength and polarization filters, reflectors, semiconductor lasers, photodetectors, bio-sensors and non-linear optical components. Suspended PCS also have natural applications in the field of optomechanics, where the mechanical modes of a suspended slab interact via radiation pressure with the optical field of a high-finesse cavity. The reflectivity and transmission properties of a defect-free suspended PCS around normal incidence can be used to couple out-of-plane mechanical modes to an optical field by integrating it in a free-space cavity. Here we demonstrate the successful implementation of a PCS reflector on a high-tensile stress Si3N4 nanomembrane. We illustrate the physical process underlying the high reflectivity by measuring the photonic-crystal band diagram. Moreover, we introduce a clear theoretical description of the membrane scattering properties in the presence of optical losses. By embedding the PCS inside a high-finesse cavity, we fully characterize its optical properties. The spectrally, angular- and polarization-resolved measurements demonstrate the wide tunability of the membrane's reflectivity, from nearly 0 to 99.9470±0.0025%, and show that material absorption is not the main source of optical loss. Moreover, the cavity storage time demonstrated in this work exceeds the mechanical period of low-order mechanical drum modes. This so-called resolved-sideband condition is a prerequisite to achieve quantum control of the mechanical resonator with light.