Abstract

We employ the concepts of band theory to describe the behavior of electromagnetic waves in three-dimensionally periodic face-centered-cubic (fcc) dielectric structures. This can produce a “photonic band gap” in which optical modes, spontaneous emission, and zero point fluctuations are all absent. In the course of a broad experimental survey, we have found that most fcc dielectric structures have “semimetallic” band structure. Nevertheless, we have identified one particular dielectric “crystal” that actually has a “photonic band gap.” This dielectric structure consisting of 86% empty space, requires a refractive-index contrast of greater than 3:1, which happens to be readily obtainable in semiconductor materials.

© 1990 Optical Society of America

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