Metasurface optics for on-demand polarization transformations along the optical path


Ahmed H. Dorrah, Noah A. Rubin, Aun Zaidi, Michele Tamagnone, and Federico Capasso. 1/28/2021. “Metasurface optics for on-demand polarization transformations along the optical path.” Nature Photonics. Publisher's Version
s41566-020-00750-2.pdf3.91 MB


Polarization plays a key role in science; hence its versatile manipulation is crucial. Existing polarization optics, however, can only manipulate polarization in a single transverse plane. Here we demonstrate a new class of polarizers and wave plates—based on metasurfaces—that can impart an arbitrarily chosen polarization response along the propagation direction, regardless of the incident polarization. The underlying mechanism relies on transforming an incident waveform into an ensemble of pencil-like beams with different polarization states that beat along the optical axis thereby changing the resulting polarization at will, locally, as light propagates. Remarkably, using form-birefringent metasurfaces in combination with matrix-based holography enables the desired propagation-dependent polarization response to be enacted without a priori knowledge of the incident polarization—a behaviour that would require three polarization-sensitive holograms if implemented otherwise. Our work expands the use of polarization in the design of multifunctional metasurfaces and may find application in tunable structured light, optically switchable devices and versatile light–matter interactions.