Stimulated Brillouin scattering in integrated photonic waveguides

forces, scattering mechanisms, and coupled-mode analysis

C. Wolff, M. J. Steel, B. J. Eggleton, C. G. Poulton

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Recent theoretical studies of stimulated Brillouin scattering (SBS) in nanoscale devices have led to intense research effort dedicated to the demonstration and application of this nonlinearity in on-chip systems. The key feature of SBS in integrated photonic waveguides is that small, high-contrast waveguides are predicted to experience powerful optical forces on the waveguide boundaries, which are predicted to further boost the SBS gain that is already expected to grow dramatically in such structures because of the higher mode confinement alone. In all recent treatments, the effect of radiation pressure is included separately from the scattering action that the acoustic field exerts on the optical field. In contrast to this, we show here that the effects of radiation pressure and motion of the waveguide boundaries are inextricably linked. Central to this insight is a new formulation of the SBS interaction that unifies the treatment of light and sound, incorporating all relevant interaction mechanisms - radiation pressure, waveguide boundary motion, electrostriction, and photoelasticity - from a rigorous thermodynamic perspective. Our approach also clarifies important points of ambiguity in the literature, such as the nature of edge effects with regard to electrostriction and of body forces with respect to radiation pressure. This new perspective on Brillouin processes leads to physical insight with implications for the design and fabrication of SBS-based nanoscale devices.

Original languageEnglish
Article number013836
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalPhysical Review A - Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jul 2015

Bibliographical note

Wolff, C., Steel, M. J., Eggleton, B. J., & Poulton, C. G. (2015). Stimulated Brillouin scattering in integrated photonic waveguides: forces, scattering mechanisms and coupled mode analysis. Phys. Rev. A 92, 013836. Copyright (2015) by the American Physical Society. The original article can be found at

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