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Miniature chiral beamsplitter based on gyroid photonic crystals


The linearly polarizing beamsplitter1,2 is a widely used optical component in photonics. It is typically built from a linearly birefringent crystal such as calcite, which has different critical reflection angles for s- and p-polarized light3, leading to the transmission of one linear polarization and angled reflection of the other. However, the analogue for splitting circularly polarized light has yet to be demonstrated due to a lack of natural materials with sufficient circular birefringence. Here, we present a nano-engineered photonic-crystal chiral beamsplitter that fulfils this task. It consists of a prism featuring a nanoscale chiral gyroid network4,5,6,7,8,9,10 and can separate left- and right-handed circularly polarized light in the wavelength region around 1.615 µm. The structure is fabricated using a galvo-dithered direct laser writing method and could become a useful component for developing integrated photonic circuits that provide a new form of polarization control.

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Figure 1: The CBS is built from a cubic chiral srs-network and with the ability to split circularly polarized light.
Figure 2: Optical characterization of the polymer srs-network along [001] with a = 1.2 µm.
Figure 3: SEM images of the CBS fabricated using GD-DLW and consisting of 64,000 unit cells of the srs-network (768,000 individual rods).
Figure 4: Characterization of the CBS under excitation along [100] (that is, at 45° to the input surface) for LCP (blue) and RCP (red) incident light.


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This work was conducted by the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Ultrahigh Bandwidth Devices for Optics Systems (project CE110001018). M.D.T. acknowledges an Australian postgraduate award and the Cooperative Research Center for Polymers for funding. G.E.S.T. acknowledges a travel stipend by the Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst for a visit to Swinburne University of Technology. G.E.S.T. and M.S. acknowledge support by the Cluster of Excellence ‘Engineering of Advanced Materials’ funded by the German Science Foundation (DFG). The authors thank R. Buividas for help in cleaving the glass substrates, and M. Farsari and D. Terzaki from the IESL Foundation for Research & Technology, Greece, for providing the silicon–zirconium photoresist.

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M.D.T. performed the numerical simulations, structural design, direct laser writing and experimental characterization. M.S. performed theoretical calculations. Q.Z. performed experimental characterization. B.C. suggested the galvo-dithering method and performed the substrate cleaving. G.E.S.T. and M.G. participated in the design of experiments and data analysis. All authors contributed to writing the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Min Gu.

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Turner, M., Saba, M., Zhang, Q. et al. Miniature chiral beamsplitter based on gyroid photonic crystals. Nature Photon 7, 801–805 (2013).

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