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Published August 31, 2009 | Published
Journal Article Open

Characterization of radiation pressure and thermal effects in a nanoscale optomechanical cavity


Optical forces in guided-wave nanostructures have recently been proposed as an effective means of mechanically actuating and tuning optical components. In this work, we study the properties of a photonic crystal optomechanical cavity consisting of a pair of patterned Si_3N_4 nanobeams. Internal stresses in the stoichiometric Si_3N_4 thin-film are used to produce inter-beam slot-gaps ranging from 560-40 nm. A general pump-probe measurement scheme is described which determines, self-consistently, the contributions of thermo-mechanical, thermo-optic, and radiation pressure effects. For devices with 40 nm slot-gap, the optical gradient force is measured to be 134 fN per cavity photon for the strongly coupled symmetric cavity supermode, producing a static cavity tuning greater than five times that of either the parasitic thermo-mechanical or thermo-optic effects.

Additional Information

© 2009 Optical Society of America. Received 18 Jun 2009; revised 8 Aug 2009; accepted 19 Aug 2009; published 20 Aug 2009. This work was supported by a DARPA seed grant (grant no. HR0011-08-0002) and the National Science Foundation (EMT grant no. 0622246, MRSEC grant no. DMR-0520565, and CIAN grant no. EEC-0812072 through University of Arizona).

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