Nav: Home

Laser writing enables practical flat optics and data storage in glass

February 19, 2020

Conventional optics (e.g. lenses or mirrors) manipulate the phase via optical path difference by controlling thickness or refractive index of material. Recently, researchers reported that arbitrary wavefront of light can be achieved with flat optics by spatially varying anisotropy, using geometric or Pancharatnam-Berry phase. However, despite various methods employed for anisotropy patterning, producing spatially varying birefringence with low loss, high damage threshold and durability remains a challenge.

In addition, the technologies of birefringence patterning have been also used for generating light beams with spatially variant polarization known as vector beams, in particular with radial or azimuthal polarization. Radially polarized vector beams are especially interesting due to the non-vanishing longitudinal electric field component when tightly focused, allowing superresolution imaging. Radial polarization is also the optimal choice for material processing. On the other hand, azimuthal vector beams can induce longitudinal magnetic fields with potential applications in spectroscopy and microscopy. Nonetheless, generating such beams with high efficiency is not a trivial matter.

In an article published in Light Science & Applications, scientists from the Optoelectronics Research Centre, University of Southampton, UK, demonstrated a new type of birefringent modification with ultra-low loss by ultrafast laser direct writing in silica glass. The discovered birefringent modificati which is completely different from the conventional one originating from nanogratings or nanoplatelets, contains randomly distributed nanopores with elongated anisotropic shapes, aligned perpendicular to the writing polarization, which are responsible for the high transparency and controllable birefringence. The birefringent modification enabled fabrication of ultra-low loss spatially variant birefringent optical elements including geometrical phase flat prism and lens, vector beam converters and zero-order retarders, which can be used for high power lasers. The high transmittance from UV to near-infrared and high durability of the demonstrated birefringent optical elements in silica glass overcome the limitations of geometrical phase and polarization shaping using conventional materials and fabrication methods including photo-aligned liquid crystals and meta-surfaces.

"We observed ultrafast laser induced modification in silica glass with the evidence of anisotropic nanopore formation representing a new type of nanoporous material."

"The technology of low loss polarization and geometrical phase patterning widens the applications of geometrical phase optical elements and vector beam convertors for high power lasers and visible and UV light sources."

"The space-selective birefringent modification with high transparency also enables high capacity multiplexed data storage in silica glass."
-end-


Changchun Institute of Optics, Fine Mechanics and Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences

Related Light Articles:

Painting with light: Novel nanopillars precisely control intensity of transmitted light
By shining white light on a glass slide stippled with millions of tiny titanium dioxide pillars, researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and their collaborators have reproduced with astonishing fidelity the luminous hues and subtle shadings of 'Girl With a Pearl Earring.'
Seeing the light: Researchers combine technologies for better light control
A new technology that can allow for better light control without requiring large, difficult-to-integrate materials and structures has been developed by Penn State researchers.
A different slant of light
Giant clams manipulate light to assist their symbiotic partner.
New light for plants
Scientists from ITMO in collaboration with their colleagues from Tomsk Polytechnic University came up with an idea to create light sources from ceramics with the addition of chrome: the light from such lamps offers not just red but also infrared (IR) light, which is expected to have a positive effect on plants' growth.
Scientists use light to accelerate supercurrents, access forbidden light, quantum world
Iowa State's Jigang Wang continues to explore using light waves to accelerate supercurrents to access the unique and potentially useful properties of the quantum world.
The power of light
As COVID-19 continues to ravage global populations, the world is singularly focused on finding ways to battle the novel coronavirus.
Seeing the light: MSU research finds new way novae light up the sky
An international team of astronomers from 40 institutes across 17 countries found that shocks cause most the brightness in novae.
Seeing the light: Astronomers find new way novae light up the sky
An international team of researchers, in a paper published today in Nature Astronomy, highlights a new way novae light up the sky: this is shocks from explosions that create the novae that cause most of the their brightness.
A funnel of light
Physicists of the University of Würzburg, in a joint collaboration with colleagues from the University of Rostock, have developed a light funnel apparatus.
Blinded by the light
A new paper researching a framework for understanding how light and noise pollution affects wildlife.
More Light News and Light Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Listen Again: IRL Online
Original broadcast date: March 20, 2020. Our online lives are now entirely interwoven with our real lives. But the laws that govern real life don't apply online. This hour, TED speakers explore rules to navigate this vast virtual space.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#574 State of the Heart
This week we focus on heart disease, heart failure, what blood pressure is and why it's bad when it's high. Host Rachelle Saunders talks with physician, clinical researcher, and writer Haider Warraich about his book "State of the Heart: Exploring the History, Science, and Future of Cardiac Disease" and the ails of our hearts.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Falling
There are so many ways to fall–in love, asleep, even flat on your face. This hour, Radiolab dives into stories of great falls.  We jump into a black hole, take a trip over Niagara Falls, upend some myths about falling cats, and plunge into our favorite songs about falling. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.