Abstract

We examine the tuning effect a liquid crystal (LC) cladding has on the lateral leakage loss of TM-like modes in shallow-etched waveguides. For such waveguides with an air cladding, the guided TM-like mode and the unguided cladding TE-like mode can only be phase matched at precisely one angle. We find that for an anisotropic cladding such as an LC, this phase matching is now possible for a range of angles. Each of these angles corresponds to a given orientation of the molecules in the LC cladding. We show that the waveguide width at which the minimum in leakage loss occurs can be changed by varying the orientation of the LC cladding. We find different tuning regimes, identify a suitable tuning range, and discuss the feasibility of tunable leakage loss experiments.

© 2014 Optical Society of America

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