Nonlinear Optics

Dr. James J. Butler

The need for research into the properties of nonlinear optical materials and education about them has never been greater.  Since the advent of the laser a tremendous effort has been exerted by the scientific community to explore the properties of materials as they interact with intense optical energy.  Nonlinear optical materials have properties, such as absorption coefficient and index of refraction that depend upon the intensity of the light incident upon them.  This observation has led to a host of possible applications for these materials.  Some of the most important applications involve fiber optic (waveguide) devices.  The growing presence of these devices in technological applications such as telecommunications networks and optical imaging systems makes this project particularly relevant.  Furthermore, the many practical uses of nonlinear optics in these systems make an early introduction to the physics and chemistry of nonlinear materials all the more imperative to prepare today’s students in this field.

This ongoing research project consists of two complementary parts: experimental and computational.  The experimental part of this work investigates the optical properties of nonlinear waveguides and waveguide arrays.  Single nonlinear waveguides and two-dimensional (2D) arrays of nonlinear waveguides have important applications for the protection of sensitive optical equipment.  Furthermore, 2D arrays of coupled, nonlinear waveguides are proving to be an important arena for the study of discrete nonlinear systems.  These systems are excellent candidates for all-optical switches and may someday form the basis for fast, totally reconfigurable all-optical networks.  The computational part of this work will contribute to a fundamental understanding of the electronic structure and properties of nonlinear materials that are being considered in the design of the nonlinear waveguides.  In order to optimize the functionality of these materials it is essential to develop a theoretical understanding of their physical characteristics. 

Research Goals

  • Investigate low-intensity nonlinear optical phenomena in the infrared range in both single-mode and multimode capillary waveguides
  • Investigate nonlinear transmission and coupling in 2D arrays of coupled waveguides with a negative nonlinearity
  • Investigate nonlinear transmission and coupling in 2D arrays of coupled waveguides with a positive nonlinearity for various array geometries

Current Student Involvement:

Kerensa Gimre, Physics major, Pacific University (senior)
Andy Hutchison, Physics major, Pacific University (senior)

Past Student Involvement:

Dustin Kofstad

  • B.S. in Physics, Pacific University (2008)
  • Senior Capstone - "Modeling of Nonlinear Absorption at Infrared Wavelengths in Capillary Waveguides"

Stacey Sueoka

  • B.S. in Physics, Pacific University (2007)
  • Currently teaching english in Japan
  • Senior Capstone - "Optical Limiting in Solid Core Photonic Crystal Fibers"

Mick Davis

  • B.S. in Physics, Pacific University (2005)
  • Currently a graduate student in Physics, University of Oregon
  • Senior Capstone - "Nonlinear Capillary Waveguides for Infrared Optical Limiting"

Jeff Payne

  • B.S. in Physics, United States Naval Academy (2004)
  • M.S. in Materials Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Senior Capstone - "Optical Limiting in a Single Mode Waveguide System"

Jeremiah Wathen

  • B.S. in Physics, United States Naval Academy (2002)
  • M.S. in Physics, University of Cambridge
  • Senior Capstone - "Optical Limiting Within Capillary Waveguides"

Naval Research Laboratory Collaborators:

Dr. James Shirk, Dr. Steve Flom, Dr. Richard Pong

United States Naval Academy Collaborators:

Dr. Steve Montgomery

External Funding Received:

  • National Science Foundation, $138,000
  • Naval Research Laboratory/United States Naval Academy, $108,000
  • Research Corporation, $80,000

Recent Publications

(* Indicates undergraduate research student)

J.J. Butler, S.R. Sueoka*, S.R. Montgomery, S.R. Flom, R.G.S. Pong, J.S. Shirk, T.E. Taunay, B.M. Wright, J. Hu, and C.R. Menyuk, “Optical Limiting in Solid-Core Photonic Crystal Fibers,”CLEO/QELS and PhAST Technical Digest on CD-ROM, (The Optical Society of America, Washington, DC, 2007), CMS6.

M.J. Wiggins, T.E. Taunay, B.M. Wright, S.R. Flom, J.S. Shirk, and J.J. Butler, “Transmission Properties of Nonlinear Multimode Waveguide Arrays,” CLEO/IQEC and PhAST Technical Digest on CD-ROM, (The Optical Society of America, Washington, DC, 2004), CFA2.

J.J. Butler, J.J. Wathen*, S.R. Flom, R.G.S. Pong, and J.S. Shirk, “Optical Limiting Properties of Nonlinear Multimode Waveguides,” Optics Letters, 28, 1689-1691 (2003).

J.J. Wathen*, J.J. Butler, and J.S. Shirk, “Transmission Properties of Nonlinear Multimode Waveguides,” CLEO/QELS Technical Digest on CD-ROM, (The Optical Society of America, Washington, DC, 2003), CThN1.

J.J. Butler, M.S. Malcuit, and M.A. Rodriguez, “Diffractive Properties of Highly Birefringent Volume Gratings: Investigation,” Journal of the Optical Society of America B, 19, 183-189 (2002).

Recent Professional Conference Presentations

(* Indicates undergraduate research student)

“Optical Limiting in Solid-Core Photonic Crystal Fibers,” presented at the Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics, Baltimore, Maryland, May 6-11, 2007 by J.J. Butler, S.R. Sueoka*, S.R. Montgomery, S.R. Flom, R.G.S. Pong, J.S. Shirk, T.E. Taunay, B.M. Wright, J. Hu, and C.R. Menyuk.

“Transmission Properties of Nonlinear Multimode Waveguide Arrays,” presented at the Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics, San Francisco, California, May 17-21, 2004 by M.J. Wiggins, T.E. Taunay, B.M. Wright, S.R. Flom, J.S. Shirk, and J.J. Butler.

“Transmission Properties of Nonlinear Multimode Waveguides,” presented at the Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics, Baltimore, Maryland, June 1-6, 2003, by J.J. Wathen*, J.J. Butler, and J.S. Shirk.

“Optical Limiting Within Capillary Waveguides,” accepted at the International Quantum Electronics Conference, Moscow, Russia, June 22-27, 2002, by J.J. Wathen*, J.J. Butler, and J.S. Shirk.

Student Research Presentations

“Modeling of Nonlinear Absorption at Infrared Wavelengths in Capillary Waveguides,” presented at the 16th Regional Conference on Undergraduate Research of the Murdock College Science Research Program, Salem, Oregon, November 2-3, 2007, by D. Kofstad, A. Hutchison, and K. Gimre.

“Optical Limiting in Solid-Core Holey Fibers,” presented at the Society of Physics Students/2007 AAPT Winter Meeting, Seattle, Washington, January 5-10, 2007 by S.R. Sueoka.

“Optical Limiting in Capillary Waveguides at Infrared Wavelengths,” presented at the 14th Regional Conference on Undergraduate Research of the Murdock College Science Research Program, Nampa, Idaho, November 11-12, 2005, by S.R. Sueoka.

“Nonlinear Capillary Waveguides for Infrared Optical Limiting,” presented at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research, Lexington, Virginia, April 21-23, 2005, by L.J. Davis.

“Nonlinear Optical Limiting Capillary Waveguides,” presented at the Oregon Academy of Science Annual Meeting, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon, February 26, 2005, by L.J. Davis.