Studies of the refraction and dispersion properties of two-dimensional (2D) photonic-crystal (PC) slab waveguides are reported. The photonic band structure is strongly modified in a slab PC, and only a small number of bands satisfy the guiding conditions imposed by the lack of translation symmetry in the direction perpendicular to the slab; however, it was found that a significant number of the guided modes retain the giant refraction and strong dispersion properties discovered previously in pure 2D PCs. A small change in incident angle resulted in a dramatic change in refraction angle. Furthermore, the dispersion surface exhibited a strong dependence on the frequency, resulting in a superprism effect similar to what has been predicted for pure 2D PCs. In the silicon-based slab PC studied, refraction angles as high as nearly 70° were predicted for incident angles of less than 7°, and frequency components differing by 3% were separated by 15°. The demonstration of giant refraction and superprism phenomena in slab waveguide PCs open the possibility of developing new classes of optical devices that can, for example, be used to develop 2D optical integrated circuits for communications and computing.
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