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Dielectric metasurfaces for complete control of phase and polarization with subwavelength spatial resolution and high transmission


Metasurfaces are planar structures that locally modify the polarization, phase and amplitude of light in reflection or transmission, thus enabling lithographically patterned flat optical components with functionalities controlled by design1,2. Transmissive metasurfaces are especially important, as most optical systems used in practice operate in transmission. Several types of transmissive metasurface have been realized3,4,5,6, but with either low transmission efficiencies or limited control over polarization and phase. Here, we show a metasurface platform based on high-contrast dielectric elliptical nanoposts that provides complete control of polarization and phase with subwavelength spatial resolution and an experimentally measured efficiency ranging from 72% to 97%, depending on the exact design. Such complete control enables the realization of most free-space transmissive optical elements such as lenses, phase plates, wave plates, polarizers, beamsplitters, as well as polarization-switchable phase holograms and arbitrary vector beam generators using the same metamaterial platform.

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Figure 1: Illustration of the proposed metasurface for complete polarization and phase control.
Figure 2: Birefringence of the elliptical post arrays.
Figure 3: Equivalence of the array and post rotations.
Figure 4: Devices for independent control of two polarizations.
Figure 5: Devices for highly efficient vector beam generation.


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This work was supported by the Caltech/JPL President and Director Fund (PDF) and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Y.H. was supported as part of the Department of Energy (DOE) ‘Light–Material Interactions in Energy Conversion’ Energy Frontier Research Centre under grant no. DE-SC0001293 and a Japan Student Services Organization (JASSO) fellowship. Device nanofabrication was performed at the Kavli Nanoscience Institute at Caltech. The authors thank D. Fattal and C. Santori for discussions.

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A.A. and A.F. conceived the experiment. A.A., Y.H. and M.B. fabricated the samples. A.A. performed the simulations, measurements and analysed the data. A.A. and A.F. co-wrote the manuscript. All authors discussed the results and commented on the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Andrei Faraon.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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Arbabi, A., Horie, Y., Bagheri, M. et al. Dielectric metasurfaces for complete control of phase and polarization with subwavelength spatial resolution and high transmission. Nature Nanotech 10, 937–943 (2015).

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