Reversibly Programmable Photonics via Responsive Polyelectrolyte Multilayer Cladding

Mahir A. Mohammed, Christian C. M. Sproncken, Berta Gumi-Audenis, Emilija Lazdanaite, Ripalta Stabile, Ilja K. Voets (Corresponding author), Oded Raz (Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Reversibly programmable photonic integrated circuits (PICs) that can facilitate multifunctionality have been long sought after to deliver user-level design flexibility. Issues like complicated control, continuous power consumption, and high optical losses hinder their large-scale adaptation. In this work, a novel approach toward programmable photonics using a responsive polyelectrolyte multilayer (PEM) cladding is presented. Reversible (de)swelling of PEMs by consecutive exposure to acidic and neutral pH solutions yields highly contrasting refractive index changes in the dry film. Utilizing this effect, an easily applied technique for programming photonic integrated devices with two different approaches, complete and area-selective deposition, for several reversible cycles is demonstrated. These devices operate at two distinct states that are virtually lossless and nonvolatile. This proof-of-concept demonstration is suitable for various photonic integration platforms to facilitate reconfigurable photonic processors, static memories, and fine-tuning of fabrication related limitations. Therefore, these results are the first step toward PEM-assisted reversibly programmable multipurpose PICs for low-cost mass production.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2000325
JournalAdvanced Optical Materials
Issue number16
Early online date7 May 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2020


  • nonvolatile
  • photonics
  • polyelectrolyte multilayers
  • polymeric materials
  • programmable photonics


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