Abstract

This paper presents a novel wet etching method for LiNbO3 using electric-field-assisted proton exchange. By applying voltage with appropriate polarity on designed electrodes placed on both sides of substrate, the induced electric-field distribution can effectively suppress or enhance proton diffusion in the lateral and depth directions. Thus, the proton-exchanged range in LiNbO3 can be expertly manipulated. Because the proton-exchanged region can be removed by using a mixture of HF/HNO3 acids, the proposed wet-etching method can effectively control the shape of the etched region in the LiNbO3 substrate. Under appropriate electrode and proton-exchange parameters,a vertical sidewall with smooth surface is successfully produced, which makes fabricating reflection mirrors and T-junctions in LiNbO3 possible. By utilizing the proposed wet-etching method, optical integrated circuits with higher integration density can be fabricated in LiNbO3.

© 2004 IEEE

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