Recently, wavefront shaping with disordered media has demonstrated optical manipulation capabilities beyond those of conventional optics, including extended volume, aberration-free focusing and subwavelength focusing. However, translating these capabilities to useful applications has remained challenging as the input–output characteristics of the disordered media (P variables) need to be exhaustively determined via O(P) measurements. Here, we propose a paradigm shift where the disorder is specifically designed so its exact input–output characteristics are known a priori and can be used with only a few alignment steps. We implement this concept with a disorder-engineered metasurface, which exhibits additional unique features for wavefront shaping such as a large optical memory effect range in combination with a wide angular scattering range, excellent stability, and a tailorable angular scattering profile. Using this designed metasurface with wavefront shaping, we demonstrate high numerical aperture (NA > 0.5) focusing and fluorescence imaging with an estimated ~2.2 × 108 addressable points in an ~8 mm field of view.

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This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health BRAIN Initiative (U01NS090577), the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (R01AI096226), and a GIST-Caltech Collaborative Research Proposal (CG2012). Y.H. was supported by a Japan Student Services Organization (JASSO) fellowship. Y.H. and A.A. were also supported by National Science Foundation Grant 1512266 and Samsung Electronics. A.S. was supported by JSPS Overseas Research Fellowships. J.B. was supported by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (F31EB021153) under a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award and by the Donna and Benjamin M. Rosen Bioengineering Center. S.M.K. was supported by the DOE ‘Light-Material Interactions in Energy Conversion’ Energy Frontier Research Center funded by the US Department of Energy, Office of Science, Office of Basic Energy Sciences under Award no. DE-SC0001293. The device nanofabrication was performed at the Kavli Nanoscience Institute at Caltech.

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Author notes

    • Mooseok Jang

    Present address: Department of Physics, Korea University, Seoul, South Korea

    • Amir Arbabi

    Present address: Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA, USA

  1. Mooseok Jang, Yu Horie and Atsushi Shibukawa contributed equally to this work.


  1. Department of Electrical Engineering, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, USA

    • Mooseok Jang
    • , Atsushi Shibukawa
    • , Joshua Brake
    • , Yan Liu
    • , Haowen Ruan
    •  & Changhuei Yang
  2. T. J. Watson Laboratory of Applied Physics, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, USA

    • Yu Horie
    • , Seyedeh Mahsa Kamali
    • , Amir Arbabi
    •  & Andrei Faraon


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M.J. and Y.H. conceived the initial idea. M.J., Y.H., A.S., J.B., Y.L., H.R. and C.Y. expanded and developed the concept. M.J., Y.H. and A.S. developed theoretical modelling, designed the experiments, and analysed the experimental data. M.J. and A.S. carried out the optical focusing experiments. Y.H. performed the full-wave simulation and the design on the metasurface. A.S. performed the fluorescence imaging experiment with the help of H.R. Y.H., S.M.K. and A.A. fabricated the metasurface phase mask. Y.L. performed the measurements on the optical memory effect, the angular scattering profiles, and the stability. All authors contributed to writing the manuscript. C.Y. and A.F. supervised the project.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Andrei Faraon or Changhuei Yang.

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