Metasurface holograms reaching 80% efficiency

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Surfaces covered by ultrathin plasmonic structures—so-called metasurfaces1,2,3,4—have recently been shown to be capable of completely controlling the phase of light, representing a new paradigm for the design of innovative optical elements such as ultrathin flat lenses5,6,7, directional couplers for surface plasmon polaritons4,8,9,10 and wave plate vortex beam generation1,11. Among the various types of metasurfaces, geometric metasurfaces, which consist of an array of plasmonic nanorods with spatially varying orientations, have shown superior phase control due to the geometric nature of their phase profile12,13. Metasurfaces have recently been used to make computer-generated holograms14,15,16,17,18,19, but the hologram efficiency remained too low at visible wavelengths for practical purposes. Here, we report the design and realization of a geometric metasurface hologram reaching diffraction efficiencies of 80% at 825 nm and a broad bandwidth between 630 nm and 1,050 nm. The 16-level-phase computer-generated hologram demonstrated here combines the advantages of a geometric metasurface for the superior control of the phase profile and of reflectarrays for achieving high polarization conversion efficiency. Specifically, the design of the hologram integrates a ground metal plane with a geometric metasurface that enhances the conversion efficiency between the two circular polarization states, leading to high diffraction efficiency without complicating the fabrication process. Because of these advantages, our strategy could be viable for various practical holographic applications.

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Figure 1: Illustration of the unit-cell structure and its polarization conversion efficiency by numerical simulations.
Figure 2: Working principle and phase distribution of the periodic hologram.
Figure 3: Experimental results for holographic image generation.

Change history

  • 27 February 2015

    In the version of this Letter originally published online, in the author contribution section the initials 'M.G.' should have read 'M.K.' This error has now been corrected in all versions of the Letter.


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This research was partly supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/J018473/1). The authors thank L. Zhu and W. He for discussions. H.M. and T.Z. acknowledge financial support from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft Research Training Group GRK1464. S.Z. and T.Z. acknowledge support from the European Commission under the Marie Curie Career Integration Program. S.Z. acknowledges financial support from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant no. 61328503).

Author information




G.Z., T.Z., G.L. and S.Z. conceived and designed the experiments. M.K. and G.Z. carried out the design and simulation of the metasurfaces. H.M. fabricated the samples. G.Z. and G.L. performed the measurements. G.Z., G.L., T.Z. and S.Z. analysed the data. G.Z., S.Z. and T.Z. co-wrote the paper. All authors discussed the results and commented on the manuscript.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Guixin Li or Thomas Zentgraf or Shuang Zhang.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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Zheng, G., Mühlenbernd, H., Kenney, M. et al. Metasurface holograms reaching 80% efficiency. Nature Nanotech 10, 308–312 (2015).

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