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Metamaterial manipulates polarised light in broadband

Posted: 10 Dec 2014 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:KAIST?

A research team from KAIST has created a technology that according to them can manipulate a polarised light in broadband operation with the use of a metamaterial. The technology holds promise for the development of broadband optical devices that can be used in broadband communication and display.

When an object or its structure is analysed by using a polarised light such as a laser, the results are generally affected by the polarised state of the light. Therefore, in an optics laboratory, the light is polarised by various methods.

In such cases, researchers employ wave plates or photoactive materials. However, the performance of these devices depend vastly on wavelength, and so they are not suitable to be used as a polariser, especially in broadband.

Broadband and ultrathin polarisation manipulators produced by 3D printer

Broadband and ultrathin polarisation manipulators produced by 3D printer

There were many attempts to make artificial materials that are very photoactive by using metamaterials that have a strong resonance. Nonetheless, because the materials had an unavoidable dispersion in the resonance frequency, they were not adequate for broadband operation.

The research team of Bumki Min, professor from the department of mechanical engineering at KAIST, arranged and connected helical metamaterials that are smaller than the wavelength of light. They verified theoretically and experimentally that polarised light can be constantly rotated regardless of the wavelength by super-thin materials that have thickness less than one-tenth of the wavelength of the light. The experiment that confirmed the theory was conducted in the microwave band.

Concept of broadband and ultrathin polarisation manipulators

Concept of broadband and ultrathin polarisation manipulators

Broadband polarised rotational 3D metamaterials were found to rotate the polarised microwave within the range of 0.1-40GHz by 45 degrees regardless of its frequency. This nondispersive property is quite unnatural because it is difficult to find a material that does not change in a wide band.

In addition, the research team materialised the broadband nondispersive polarised rotational property by designing the metamaterial in a way that it has chirality, which determines the number of rotations proportional to the wavelength.

Min said, "As the technology is able to manipulate ultrathin polarization of light in broadband, it will lead to the creation of ultra-shallow broadband optical devices."

Sponsored by the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning of the Republic of Korea and the National Research Foundation of Korea, this research was led by a PhD candidate, Hyun-Sung Park, under the guidance of Min. The research findings were published online in the November 17th issue of Nature Communications.





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