An ideal interface between free-space and built-in optical methods

Leaky-wave metasurfaces: A perfect interface between free-space and integrated optical systems
Left: Schematic displaying the operation of a leaky-wave metasurface. Proper: A 2D array of optical spots forming a Kagome sample that’s produced by a leaky-wave metasurface. Credit score: Heqing Huang, Adam Overvig, and Nanfang Yu/Columbia Engineering

Researchers at Columbia Engineering have developed a brand new class of built-in photonic units—”leaky-wave metasurfaces”—that may convert gentle initially confined in an optical waveguide to an arbitrary optical sample in free house. These units are the primary to exhibit simultaneous management of all 4 optical levels of freedom, particularly, amplitude, section, polarization ellipticity, and polarization orientation—a world report.

As a result of the units are so skinny, clear, and suitable with photonic built-in circuits (PICs), they can be utilized to enhance optical shows, LIDAR (Gentle Detection and Ranging), optical communications, and quantum optics.

“We’re excited to seek out a sublime resolution for interfacing free-space optics and built-in photonics—these two platforms have historically been studied by investigators from totally different subfields of optics and have led to industrial merchandise addressing fully totally different wants,” stated Nanfang Yu, affiliate professor of utilized physics and utilized arithmetic who’s a frontrunner in analysis on nanophotonic units.

“Our work factors to new methods to create hybrid methods that make the most of the very best of each worlds—free-space optics for shaping the wavefront of sunshine and built-in photonics for optical knowledge processing—to deal with many rising functions corresponding to quantum optics, optogenetics, sensor networks, inter-chip communications, and holographic shows.”

Leaky-wave metasurfaces: A perfect interface between free-space and integrated optical systems
Left: Picture of two leaky-wave metasurfaces for producing Kagome lattices. Proper: SEM picture of a portion of a leaky-wave metasurface, which consists of nano-apertures etched right into a polymer layer on prime of a silicon nitride skinny movie. Credit score: Heqing Huang, Adam Overvig, and Nanfang Yu/Columbia Engineering

Bridging free-space optics and built-in photonics

The important thing problem of interfacing PICs and free-space optics is to rework a easy waveguide mode confined inside a waveguide—a skinny ridge outlined on a chip—right into a broad free-space wave with a posh wavefront, and vice versa. Yu’s group tackled this problem by constructing on their invention final fall of “nonlocal metasurfaces” and prolonged the units’ performance from controlling free-space gentle waves to controlling guided waves.

Particularly, they expanded the enter waveguide mode by utilizing a waveguide taper right into a slab waveguide mode—a sheet of sunshine propagating alongside the chip. “We realized that the slab waveguide mode may be decomposed into two orthogonal standing waves—waves paying homage to these produced by plucking a string,” stated Heqing Huang, a Ph.D. pupil in Yu’s lab and co-first writer of the examine, printed at the moment in Nature Nanotechnology.

“Due to this fact, we designed a ‘leaky-wave metasurface’ composed of two units of rectangular apertures which have a subwavelength offset from one another to independently management these two standing waves. The result’s that every standing wave is transformed right into a floor emission with unbiased amplitude and polarization; collectively, the 2 floor emission parts merge right into a single free-space wave with fully controllable amplitude, section, and polarization at every level over its wavefront.”

Leaky-wave metasurfaces: A perfect interface between free-space and integrated optical systems
Left two figures: Two holographic photographs produced by a leaky-wave metasurface at two totally different distances from the gadget floor. Proper 4 figures: 4 distinct holographic photographs produced by a single leaky-wave metasurface at two totally different distances from the gadget floor and at two orthogonal polarization states. Credit score: Heqing Huang, Adam Overvig, and Nanfang Yu/Columbia Engineering

From quantum optics to optical communications to holographic 3D shows

Yu’s group experimentally demonstrated a number of leaky-wave metasurfaces that may convert a waveguide mode propagating alongside a waveguide with a cross-section on the order of 1 wavelength into free-space emission with a designer wavefront over an space about 300 occasions the wavelength on the telecom wavelength of 1.55 microns. These embrace:

  • A leaky-wave metalens that produces a focal spot in free house. Such a tool can be excellent for forming a low-loss, high-capacity free-space optical hyperlink between PIC chips; it’ll even be helpful for an built-in optogenetic probe that produces targeted beams to optically stimulate neurons situated distant from the probe.
  • A leaky-wave optical-lattice generator that may produce a whole bunch of focal spots forming a Kagome lattice sample in free house. On the whole, the leaky-wave metasurface can produce complicated aperiodic and three-dimensional optical lattices to lure chilly atoms and molecules. This functionality will allow researchers to check unique quantum optical phenomena or conduct quantum simulations hitherto not simply attainable with different platforms, and allow them to considerably scale back the complexity, quantity, and price of atomic-array-based quantum units. For instance, the leaky-wave metasurface could possibly be immediately built-in into the vacuum chamber to simplify the optical system, making transportable quantum optics functions, corresponding to atomic clocks, a chance.
  • A leaky-wave vortex-beam generator that produces a beam with a corkscrew-shaped wavefront. This might result in a free-space optical hyperlink between buildings that depends on PICs to course of data carried by gentle, whereas additionally utilizing gentle waves with formed wavefronts for high-capacity intercommunication.
  • A leaky-wave hologram that may displace 4 distinct photographs concurrently: two on the gadget airplane (at two orthogonal polarization states) and one other two at a distance within the free house (additionally at two orthogonal polarization states). This operate could possibly be used to make lighter, extra snug augmented actuality goggles and extra lifelike holographic 3D shows.

Yu’s present demonstration is predicated on a easy polymer-silicon nitride supplies platform at near-infrared wavelengths. His group plans subsequent to exhibit units based mostly on the extra strong silicon nitride platform, which is suitable with foundry fabrication protocols and tolerant to excessive optical energy operation. In addition they plan to exhibit designs for prime output effectivity and operation at seen wavelengths, which is extra appropriate for functions corresponding to quantum optics and holographic shows.

Extra data:
Andrea Alù, Leaky-wave metasurfaces for built-in photonics, Nature Nanotechnology (2023). DOI: 10.1038/s41565-023-01360-z.

Supplied by
Columbia College College of Engineering and Utilized Science

Leaky-wave metasurfaces: An ideal interface between free-space and built-in optical methods (2023, Could 8)
retrieved 10 Could 2023

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