Q-factor influence on slow-light propagation and the maximal group delay
Coupled-resonator optical waveguides hold potential for slow-light propagation of optical pulses. The dispersion properties may adequately be analyzed within the framework of coupled-mode theory. We extend the standard coupled-mode theory for such structures to also include complex-valued parameters which allows us to analyze the dispersion properties also in presence of finite Q factors for the coupled resonator states. Near the band-edge the group velocity saturates at a finite value vg/c µ p1/Q while in the band center, the group velocity is unaffected by a finite Q factor as compared to ideal resonators without any damping. However, the maximal group delay that can be envisioned is a balance between having a low group velocity while not jeopardizing the propagation length. We find that the maximal group delay remains roughly constant over the entire bandwidth, being given by the photon life time tp = Q/W of the individual resonators.