Silicon Inverse Opal—A Platform for Photonic Bandgap Research


  • GAO is Government of Canada Research Chair in Materials Chemistry. He is deeply indebted to the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and the University of Toronto for partial financial support of this work. HM work has been funded by the Spanish CICyT, under grant MAT2003-04993-C04-01 and by Universidad Politécnica de Valencia. HM acknowledges the Spanish Ministry of Science and Technology for a “Ramón y Cajal” Fellowship. NT is grateful for financial support of his research in the form of an Ontario Graduate Scholarship.


This article focuses attention on recent research on the silicon inverse opal, the first self-assembled or bottom–up synthetic photonic crystal to exhibit a complete photonic bandgap (PBG) at 1.5 μm[1] in accordance with theoretical predictions.[2] The silicon inverse opal has since proven to be a useful platform for assembling on-chip films[3] and in-chip patterns,[4] engineering extrinsic defects,[5] mapping photon density of states,[6] switching light with light, and inhibiting spontaneous emission.[7] Also, new and exciting colloidal-crystal-based structures are being developed based on experimental and theoretical knowledge acquired for the synthesis of inverted silicon photonic crystals.[8–10] It has also inspired the idea of the silicon inverse opal heterostructure, a theoretical construct that could enable an all-optical microchip for single mode diffractionless waveguiding of light in air throughout a bandwidth of more than 70 nm at 1.5 μm.[11]