- Nano Express
- Open Access
High-Order Dielectric Metasurfaces for High-Efficiency Polarization Beam Splitters and Optical Vortex Generators
© The Author(s). 2017
- Received: 15 July 2017
- Accepted: 18 August 2017
- Published: 29 August 2017
In this paper, a high-order dielectric metasurface based on silicon nanobrick array is proposed and investigated. By controlling the length and width of the nanobricks, the metasurfaces could supply two different incremental transmission phases for the X-linear-polarized (XLP) and Y-linear-polarized (YLP) light with extremely high efficiency over 88%. Based on the designed metasurface, two polarization beam splitters working in high-order diffraction modes have been designed successfully, which demonstrated a high transmitted efficiency. In addition, we have also designed two vortex-beam generators working in high-order diffraction modes to create vortex beams with the topological charges of 2 and 3. The employment of dielectric metasurfaces operating in high-order diffraction modes could pave the way for a variety of new ultra-efficient optical devices.
- Beam splitters
- Phase modulation
- Optical vortices
In recent years, the full control of electromagnetic waves has been an emerging area of research. For the quest to realize such control, metamaterials have attracted significant attentions for their novel physical properties, which could be artificially engineered as desires by structuring their constituents . So far, metamaterials have been used to achieve many excellent optical properties, such as negative refraction, zero-refraction, and slow-light. However, three-dimensional metamaterial has many drawbacks, such as high intrinsic losses and fabrication difficulty, which restrict its real applications. With the developments of nanotechnology, two-dimensional metamaterials, or so-called metasurfaces, have been proposed to avoid these drawbacks due to their ultrathin subwavelength structures, relatively easy fabrication and conformal integrations with systems [2, 3]. Metasurfaces typically consist of an array of optical resonators with subwavelength period and function as interface discontinuities. It could introduce an abrupt change in the amplitude or phase of the impinging beam by designing the geometry of the resonator. Based on this concept, various metasurfaces with different functions have been implemented, including tunable waveguide [4, 5], wave-plates [6, 7], lens [8–11], anomalous refraction [12, 13], compact vortex generators [14–16], and high-resolution holograms [17–19].
Although metasurface exhibits much better efficiency compared with three-dimensional metamaterials, the loss should still be considered seriously due to the common use of metal. Hence, there are some improved methods to increase the transmission efficiency, including the Huygens’ metasurfaces and all-dielectric metasurfaces. The Huygens’ metasurfaces could avoid low efficiency; nevertheless, the fabrication of the three-dimensional structures still hinders it applications in reality . Fortunately, dielectric metasurfaces could be optimized to simultaneously possess overlapping electric and magnetic resonances at the same frequencies and thus enable full 2π phase control with high transmission efficiency [21–27]. However, most of the demonstrated optical devices in the previous works use the ±1st order diffraction modes to manipulate the wavefront of light rather than the high order modes [28–30]. Recently, a novel approach has been proposed to control the incident wavefront and operates in high order modes by modulating the discrete phase; still, they obtained quite low transmission efficiencies due to the intrinsic Ohmic loss of metal [31, 32].
In this work, we propose a dielectric metasurface to manipulate the wavefront operating in high-order diffraction modes with extremely high transmission efficiency. Based on the proposed dielectric metasurface, two polarizing beam splitters with abrupt phase discontinuities have been designed in the telecommunication band and operating in high-order modes. The polarizing beam splitters are capable of generating two different wavefronts for two orthogonal input polarizations with extremely high efficiency up to 88%. In addition, we have also designed two vortex beam generators with the topological charges of 2 and 3 to further demonstrate the capability of the designed metasurface to manipulate light in high-order diffraction modes.
By using the numerical simulation, as depicted in Fig. 1, the co-polarized transmitted efficiency and the corresponding phase variations for both X-linear-polarized (XLP) light and Y-linear-polarized (YLP) light are calculated as functions of the geometries of the silicon bricks. When the XLP light is incident to the proposed dielectric metasurface, there is high transmittance for almost all of the nanobrick dimensions, as presented in Fig. 1a. Meanwhile, Fig. 1b implies a full range of phase from 0 to 2π in transmission of XLP light, which could provide a full coverage of wavefront phase. More importantly, for the vast majority of dimensions, the nanobricks have over 88% co-polarized power transmission efficiency, which could be attributed to the low reflection and nearly no absorption of the dielectric metasurface at the telecommunication wavelength. The co-polarized transmission efficiency and corresponding phase variations under the YLP incidence are plotted in Fig. 1c, d, respectively. Because of the symmetry, the dependence of optical properties of dielectric metasurface on geometric dimensions for YLP light is similar with that for XLP light, which is clearly shown in Fig. 1. Hence, for YLP light, the co-polarized transmission efficiency is also higher than 88% and modulating phase range could vary from 0 to 2π.
In brief, a complete range of phase control from 0 to 2π could be effectively achieved in the case of XLP and YLP incidences by only changing the geometric dimension of nanobrick along X-direction (i.e., a) and Y-direction (i.e., b), respectively. Consequently, the range of phase control could be extended to high-order diffraction modes (i.e., from 0 to N × 2π) due to the periodicity of phase. To demonstrate the versatility and precise phase control of the designed nanobricks, two transmission-type optical devices with high efficiency have been proposed by well designing the metasurface with simply arrangement, including two polarizing beam splitters and an optical vortex generator.
Designing the Polarizing Beam Splitters
On-chip polarization control is an important issue for photonic integrated circuits. The polarizing beam splitter is one of the essential optical devices used to control the polarization on a chip, which can be used to separate the input light into two orthogonal polarization components [33, 34]. According to the simulation results above, beam splitters with steerable birefringence based on the proposed dielectric metasurface could be realized, which indicates that two different phases of XLP refraction light (φ x ) and YLP refraction light (φ y ) could be simultaneously obtained by appropriately selecting the nanobrick diameters a and b, respectively. Thus, we here design metasurfaces and employ this novel property to realize polarizing beam splitters to distinguish two orthogonal polarizations of input light to two directions with highly transmitted efficiency up to 88%. Furthermore, the designed metasurface could work in not only the first-order but also the higher-order diffraction modes.
In addition, the transmissions of the 13 designed nanobricks under XLP and YLP light have been simulated and agree well with the theoretical prediction. Fig. 2c shows the geometrical dimensions of the silicon nanobricks and the transmitted efficiencies of the 13 nanobricks in metasurface M 1 under XLP and YLP light. The co-polarized transmissions of most dielectric nanobricks are comparable and remain over 88% though there are two nanobricks’ transmissions keeping nearly 80%. These simulation results verify that our designed metasurfaces could be applied to fabricate numerous optical devices with high efficiency.
Designing the Optical Vortex Generators
In addition, we design other two vortex generators to generate vortex beams by changing the arrangement of the nanobricks in M 1. These two vortex beam generators possess the topological charges of 2 and 3, respectively. Their transmitted intensity profiles under XLP incidence are shown in Fig. 6b, c, respectively. The concrete design approaches are modulating the phase difference of the nanobricks to be 4π/13 and 6π/13between two neighboring dielectric nanobricks, which are defined as M 2 and M 3. Therefore, the instantaneous spatial phase profiles in Fig. 6e, f possess two and three evident abrupt phase jumps from −π to π, respectively. Switching the incident polarization from XLP to YLP does not change the output intensity pattern, but the twisting direction of the helical wavefront will be reverse due to the diminishing phase difference between the neighboring nanobricks. Furthermore, it should be noted that the higher-order phase profiles could also be generated by our designed dielectric metasurfaces.
In conclusion, we have demonstrated dielectric gradient metasurfaces consist of periodic arrangement of differently sized silicon nanobricks, which could transmit the input light with full range of manipulating phase from 0 to 2π and extremely high efficiency (over 88%) at telecommunication wavelength. Based on the designed dielectric metasurfaces, novel polarizing beam splitters working in the higher order diffraction modes are proposed to separate two orthogonal input polarized lights to arbitrary different directions. In addition, we have also designed two vortex beam generators working in the higher-order diffraction modes with different topological charges. Our work could also easily be extended to the design of other optical transmitting devices with high efficiency.
The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial supports for this work from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 61775050 and No. 11505043), and Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (JD2017JGPY0005).
This manuscript is written by ZYG and LZ. The simulation is carried out by ZYG and LZ. The analysis and discussion of these obtained results are carried out by ZYG, LZ, KG, FS, and ZPY. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
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