Molecular and Atomic Confinement in Large Core Photonic Microcells for Slow Light and Laser Metrology Applications

  • Natalie Wheeler

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


This thesis describes developments in the fabrication and applications of photonic microcells (PMCs). A PMC is a length of gas-filled hollow core-photonic crystal fibre (HC-PCF) that is hermetically sealed by splicing both ends to standard single mode fibre. A PMC enables integration of gas-filled HC-PCF into all-fibre systems with low insertion loss.PMCs have applications in coherent optics and metrology, where specific HC-PCF designs are advantageous. Two types of state-of-the-art HC-PCF, double bandgap HCPCF and large-pitch Kagome fibre, are fabricated. The double bandgap HC-PCF extends the usable bandwidth of the fibre by providing low loss guidance across two transmission bands. The large-pitch Kagome HC-PCF has a record low attenuation of 0.3 dB/m at 800 nm, while maintaining broadband guidance, which is partially attributed to the core shape.Three distinct developments in the field of PMCs are described. Firstly, a record length 20 metre acetylene-filled PMC is fabricated which is the key component in the first demonstration of an all-fibre slow and fast light system based on electromagnetically induced transparency. Secondly, a technique based on fibre tapering is presented which enables low loss integration of large core Kagome HC-PCFs into PMC form. Thirdly, micromirrors are developed and integrated with HC-PCF to confine light in the longitudinal dimension, providing a means to fabricate multi-pass PMCs. Two uncoated micromirrors are used to form a low finesse microcavity in Kagome HC-PCF, with record high fringe visibility using reflections from a silica/air junction.In collaboration with Kansas State University, an acetylene optical reference with sub-10 KHz accuracy and the first acetylene laser based on population inversion are demonstrated using Kagome HC-PCF.Finally, this thesis reports on rubidium vapour loading in HC-PCF with the ultimate aim being the production of a rubidium-filled PMC for applications in metrology. Preliminary results highlight the limited loading distance of the current technique and modified loading schemes are outlined accordingly.
Date of Award1 Nov 2010
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorAbdelfatah Benabid (Supervisor) & David Bird (Supervisor)


  • phototonics
  • fibre

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