Chiral Photonics, Inc. (CPI) was formed in January 1999 to develop innovative products based upon the novel photonic properties of chiral structures. These devices have a screw-like, or helical, microstructure that provides the ability to control and manipulate light. Products based on chiral structures offer both performance and cost advantages over products based on present technologies and have application to diverse fields such as aerospace, telecommunications, oil and gas exploration and drilling, projection displays, and biological and chemical sensing and analysis.
The chiral structure occurs in nature and can also be self-assembled from specially formulated starting materials or produced in a continuous process. All these options avoid more expensive step or lithographic processes such as those commonly employed to fabricate layered dielectric stacks or fiber Bragg gratings, building blocks of modern photonics.
CPI has developed a flexible, continuous twisting process to produce glass fibers with chiral structure, which offer high performance at low cost to the optical telecommunications, and sensing industries. CPI’s fabrication capabilities allow helices with sub-micron pitch to be precisely imparted to optical glass fibers without the need for lithographic processing and without being limited to photosensitive glasses.
The idea for CPI stemmed from application ideas developed by two of CPI’s founders, Azriel Genack and Victor Kopp, subsequent to their fundamental research done at CUNY in 1997. They demonstrated lasing at the edge of a photonic stop band in dye-doped cholesteric liquid crystals (CLCs) and developed a fundamental understanding of lasing and light propagation in these chiral structures. CPI has developed an optically pumped, polymeric chiral thin film laser based upon these self-assembling, photonic band gap structures. The company then demonstrated the unique properties of chiral optical fibers, all-glass fibers that have a chiral microstructure, that are the basis for the company’s initial in-fiber products – polarizers, couplers and long period gratings. The company is also developing its first active component, the chiral fiber laser, a single frequency, singlemode, low cost fiber laser which it hopes to demonstrate and introduce shortly.