For the first time, scientists have built holograms that can detect the polarization of light using incredibly thin layers of 2-D structures called metasurfaces. For polarization measurements, which are used in spectroscopy, sensing, and communications, the new metasurface holograms could be used to build extremely quick and small devices.
Metasurfaces are optical components with features on the nanoscale and an overall thickness less than 1/50th that of a human strand. They are readily integrated into wafer-scale optical systems and can be produced in large quantities using common microelectronics fabrication techniques. These promising characteristics are not yet utilized in many real-world uses.
Researchers claim to have successfully and rapidly determined polarization at near-infrared to visible wavelengths using metasurface holograms in a paper. The new research marks a step toward creating functional metasurface-based devices for various applications, ranging from chemical analysis to telecommunications.
According to the research team leader, holograms created from metasurfaces are a quick and easy method to produce high-quality images with subwavelength resolution. In this study, metasurface holograms are applied specifically to polarization measurements, opening the door to camera-sized devices that can measure polarization in a single step without moving parts.
Even though unpolarized light is emitted in all directions by sunshine and most common light sources, optical elements like filters can create polarized light, which only propagates in one plane, usually vertical or horizontal. To ascertain a material‘s physical characteristics, analytical tools like spectrometers can detect how light polarization changes after contact with the substance.
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