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Many integrated optical components rely on waveguide bends to join components. Photonic crystals enable ultra small bend radii enabling the size of integrated components to be drastically reduced.
The chip area for the 4 way splitter illustrated below is reduced by >10,000 times using photonic crystal.
At Mesophotonics, we have demonstrated that most optical functions performed by photonic crystals allow a similar reduction in size. This permits multiple optical functions to be built into minute chips removing packaging costs. Thousands of integrated chips can also be fabricated on a single silicon wafer, increasing component stability and enabling large volume manufacture.