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Breakthroughs in Photonics 2013: Flat Optics: Wavefronts Control With Huygens' Interfaces

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2 Author(s)
Genevet, P. ; Sch. of Eng. & Appl. Sci., Harvard Univ., Cambridge, MA, USA ; Capasso, F.

Recent progress in the fields of nanophotonics and metamaterials has enabled the development of ultrathin and flat optical components, providing physicists and optical engineers a new method to control light. According to the Huygens-Fresnel principle, light gradually propagates step by step by exciting secondary waves that then reradiate to form the next wavefront; the phase and amplitude of these secondary waves are intimately related to the incoming optical wavefront. By using the response of nanoengineered subwavelength optical resonators at interfaces, it is now possible to engineer Huygens' interfaces to achieve an unprecedented control of the wavefront over large bandwidths and subwavelength propagation distances.

Huygens' interfaces can be designed to generate light beams with inhomogeneous phase, amplitude and/or polarization such as vortices, i.e. light beams with screw-like phase profiles. When the latter are combined with a reference beam Gaussian beam, their interferences produce beautiful spiral-shaped intensity patterns. Because metasurfaces can suddenly control the properties of light, the presence of the phase singularity is noticed less than a wavelength away from the interface. Huygens' interfaces can be designed to generate light beams with inhomogeneous phase, amplitude and/or polarization such as vortices, i.e. light beams with screw-like phase profiles. When the latter are combined with a reference beam Gaussian beam, their interferences produce beautiful spiral-shaped intensity patterns. Because metasurfaces can suddenly control the properties of light, the presence of the phase singularity is noticed less than a wavelength away from the interface.

Published in:

Photonics Journal, IEEE  (Volume:6 ,  Issue: 2 )