Hyeongrak Choi, Mikkel Heuck, and Dirk Englund

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.118.223605


We propose a photonic crystal nanocavity design with self-similar electromagnetic boundary conditions, achieving ultrasmall mode volume (Veff). The electric energy density of a cavity mode can be maximized in the air or dielectric region, depending on the choice of boundary conditions. We illustrate the design concept with a silicon-air one-dimensional photon crystal cavity that reaches an ultrasmall mode volume of Veff ∼ 7.01 × 10−5λ3 at λ ∼ 1550 nm. We show that the extreme light concentration in our design can enable ultrastrong Kerr nonlinearities, even at the single-photon level. These features open new directions in cavity quantum electrodynamics, spectroscopy, and quantum nonlinear optics.