Optical fields are measured using sequential arrangements of optical components such as lenses, filters, and beam splitters in conjunction with planar arrays of point detectors placed on a common axis1. All such systems are constrained in terms of size, weight, durability and field of view. Here a new, geometric approach to optical-field measurements is presented that lifts some of the aforementioned limitations and, moreover, enables access to optical information on unprecedented length and volume scales. Tough polymeric photodetecting fibres drawn from a preform2 are woven into light-weight, low-optical-density, two- and three-dimensional constructs that measure the amplitude and phase of an electromagnetic field on very large areas. First, a three-dimensional spherical construct is used to measure the direction of illumination over 4π steradians. Second, an intensity distribution is measured by a planar array using a tomographic algorithm. Finally, both the amplitude and phase of an optical wave front are acquired with a dual-plane construct. Hence, the problem of optical-field measurement is transformed from one involving the choice and placement of lenses and detector arrays to that of designing geometrical constructions of polymeric, light-sensitive fibres.
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We thank N. Orf, Y. Migdal and E. E. Bayindir for technical assistance, and M. Qi for useful discussions. This work was supported by the ISN DAAD-19-02-D-0002, US DOE DE-FG02-99ER45778 and DARPA/Christodoulou. This work was also supported in part by the MRSEC Program of the National Science Foundation under award number DMR 02-13282.
The authors declare no competing financial interests.
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Abouraddy, A., Shapira, O., Bayindir, M. et al. Large-scale optical-field measurements with geometric fibre constructs. Nature Mater 5, 532–536 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1038/nmat1674
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