Now that light has been slowed to a crawl, researches are pondering how to cage photons for life--
Nature Materials 6, 862 - 865 (2007) Published online: 2 September 2007 | doi:10.1038/nmat1994
Dynamic control of the Q factor in a photonic crystal nanocavityYoshinori Tanaka1, Jeremy Upham1, Takushi Nagashima1, Tomoaki Sugiya1, Takashi Asano1 & Susumu Noda1,2
High-quality (Q) factor photonic-crystal nanocavities1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 are currently the focus of much interest because they can strongly confine photons in a tiny space. Nanocavities with ultrahigh Q factors of up to 2,000,000 and modal volumes of a cubic wavelength have been realized8. If the Q factor could be dynamically controlled within the lifetime of a photon, significant advances would be expected in areas of physics and engineering such as the slowing and/or stopping of light9, 10 and quantum-information processing11, 12. For these applications, the transfer, storage and exchange of photons in nanocavity systems on such a timescale are highly desirable. Here, we present the first demonstration of dynamic control of the Q factor, by constructing a system composed of a nanocavity, a waveguide with nonlinear optical response and a photonic-crystal hetero-interface mirror. The Q factor of the nanocavity was successfully changed from 3,000 to 12,000 within picoseconds.