2019 Vol. 8, No. 5

Nanosecond mid-infrared pulse generation via modulated thermal emissivity
Yuzhe Xiao, Nicholas A. Charipar, Jad Salman, Alberto Piqué, Mikhail A. Kats
Published. 2019, 8(5) : 726-733 doi: 10.1038/s41377-019-0158-6
We demonstrate the generation of nanosecond mid-infrared pulses via fast modulation of thermal emissivity enabled by the absorption of visible pump pulses in unpatterned silicon and gallium arsenide. The free-carrier dynamics in these materials result in nanosecond-scale modulation of thermal emissivity, which leads to nanosecond pulsed thermal emission. To our knowledge, the nanosecond thermal-emissivity modulation in this work is three orders of magnitude faster than what has been previously demonstrated. We also indirectly observed subnanosecond thermal pulses from hot carriers in semiconductors. The experiments are well described by our multiphysics model. Our method of converting visible pulses into the mid infrared using modulated emissivity obeys different scaling laws and can have significant wavelength tunability compared to approaches based on conventional nonlinearities.
Colour compound lenses for a portable fluorescence microscope
Bo Dai, Ziao Jiao, Lulu Zheng, Hunter Bachman, Yongfeng Fu, et al.
Published. 2019, 8(5) : 734-746 doi: 10.1038/s41377-019-0187-1
In this article, we demonstrated a handheld smartphone fluorescence microscope (HSFM) that integrates dual-functional polymer lenses with a smartphone. The HSFM consists of a smartphone, a field-portable illumination source, and a dual-functional polymer lens that performs both optical imaging and filtering. Therefore, compared with the existing smartphone fluorescence microscope, the HSFM does not need any additional optical filters. Although fluorescence imaging has traditionally played an indispensable role in biomedical and clinical applications due to its high specificity and sensitivity for detecting cells, proteins, DNAs/RNAs, etc., the bulky elements of conventional fluorescence microscopes make them inconvenient for use in point-of-care diagnosis. The HSFM demonstrated in this article solves this problem by providing a multifunctional, miniature, small-form-factor fluorescence module. This multifunctional fluorescence module can be seamlessly attached to any smartphone camera for both bright-field and fluorescence imaging at cellular-scale resolutions without the use of additional bulky lenses/filters; in fact, the HSFM achieves magnification and light filtration using a single lens. Cell and tissue observation, cell counting, plasmid transfection evaluation, and superoxide production analysis were performed using this device. Notably, this lens system has the unique capability of functioning with numerous smartphones, irrespective of the smartphone model and the camera technology housed within each device. As such, this HSFM has the potential to pave the way for real-time point-of-care diagnosis and opens up countless possibilities for personalized medicine.
Nature-inspired chiral metasurfaces for circular polarization detection and full-Stokes polarimetric measurements
Ali Basiri, Xiahui Chen, Jing Bai, Pouya Amrollahi, Joe Carpenter, et al.
Published. 2019, 8(5) : 747-757 doi: 10.1038/s41377-019-0184-4
The manipulation and characterization of light polarization states are essential for many applications in quantum communication and computing, spectroscopy, bioinspired navigation, and imaging. Chiral metamaterials and metasurfaces facilitate ultracompact devices for circularly polarized light generation, manipulation, and detection. Herein, we report bioinspired chiral metasurfaces with both strong chiral optical effects and low insertion loss. We experimentally demonstrated submicron-thick circularly polarized light filters with peak extinction ratios up to 35 and maximum transmission efficiencies close to 80% at near-infrared wavelengths (the best operational wavelengths can be engineered in the range of 1.3–1.6 μm). We also monolithically integrated the microscale circular polarization filters with linear polarization filters to perform full-Stokes polarimetric measurements of light with arbitrary polarization states. With the advantages of easy on-chip integration, ultracompact footprints, scalability, and broad wavelength coverage, our designs hold great promise for facilitating chip-integrated polarimeters and polarimetric imaging systems for quantum-based optical computing and information processing, circular dichroism spectroscopy, biomedical diagnosis, and remote sensing applications.
Dynamically encircling an exceptional point in anti-parity-time symmetric systems: asymmetric mode switching for symmetry-broken modes
Xu-Lin Zhang, Tianshu Jiang, C. T. Chan
Published. 2019, 8(5) : 836-844 doi: 10.1038/s41377-019-0200-8
Dynamically encircling an exceptional point (EP) in parity-time (PT) symmetric waveguide systems exhibits interesting chiral dynamics that can be applied to asymmetric mode switching for symmetric and anti-symmetric modes. The counterpart symmetry-broken modes (i.e., each eigenmode is localized in one waveguide only), which are more useful for applications such as on-chip optical signal processing, exhibit only non-chiral dynamics and therefore cannot be used for asymmetric mode switching. Here, we solve this problem by resorting to anti-parity-time (anti-PT) symmetric systems and utilizing their unique topological structure, which is very different from that of PT-symmetric systems. We find that the dynamical encircling of an EP in anti-PT-symmetric systems with the starting point in the PT-broken phase results in chiral dynamics. As a result, symmetry-broken modes can be used for asymmetric mode switching, which is a phenomenon and application unique to anti-PT-symmetric systems. We perform experiments to demonstrate the new wave-manipulation scheme, which may pave the way towards designing on-chip optical systems with novel functionalities.
Computational cytometer based on magnetically modulated coherent imaging and deep learning
Yibo Zhang, Mengxing Ouyang, Aniruddha Ray, Tairan Liu, Janay Kong, et al.
Published. 2019, 8(5) : 845-859 doi: 10.1038/s41377-019-0203-5
Detecting rare cells within blood has numerous applications in disease diagnostics. Existing rare cell detection techniques are typically hindered by their high cost and low throughput. Here, we present a computational cytometer based on magnetically modulated lensless speckle imaging, which introduces oscillatory motion to the magnetic-bead-conjugated rare cells of interest through a periodic magnetic force and uses lensless time-resolved holographic speckle imaging to rapidly detect the target cells in three dimensions (3D). In addition to using cell-specific antibodies to magnetically label target cells, detection specificity is further enhanced through a deep-learning-based classifier that is based on a densely connected pseudo-3D convolutional neural network (P3D CNN), which automatically detects rare cells of interest based on their spatio-temporal features under a controlled magnetic force. To demonstrate the performance of this technique, we built a high-throughput, compact and cost-effective prototype for detecting MCF7 cancer cells spiked in whole blood samples. Through serial dilution experiments, we quantified the limit of detection (LoD) as 10 cells per millilitre of whole blood, which could be further improved through multiplexing parallel imaging channels within the same instrument. This compact, cost-effective and high-throughput computational cytometer can potentially be used for rare cell detection and quantification in bodily fluids for a variety of biomedical applications.
Dielectric metasurfaces for complete and independent control of the optical amplitude and phase
Adam C. Overvig, Sajan Shrestha, Stephanie C. Malek, Ming Lu, Aaron Stein, et al.
Published. 2019, 8(5) : 860-871 doi: 10.1038/s41377-019-0201-7
Metasurfaces are optically thin metamaterials that promise complete control of the wavefront of light but are primarily used to control only the phase of light. Here, we present an approach, simple in concept and in practice, that uses meta-atoms with a varying degree of form birefringence and rotation angles to create high-efficiency dielectric metasurfaces that control both the optical amplitude and phase at one or two frequencies. This opens up applications in computer-generated holography, allowing faithful reproduction of both the phase and amplitude of a target holographic scene without the iterative algorithms required in phase-only holography. We demonstrate all-dielectric metasurface holograms with independent and complete control of the amplitude and phase at up to two optical frequencies simultaneously to generate two- and three-dimensional holographic objects. We show that phase-amplitude metasurfaces enable a few features not attainable in phase-only holography; these include creating artifact-free two-dimensional holographic images, encoding phase and amplitude profiles separately at the object plane, encoding intensity profiles at the metasurface and object planes separately, and controlling the surface textures of three-dimensional holographic objects.
Ⅲ/Ⅴ-on-Si MQW lasers by using a novel photonic integration method of regrowth on a bonding template
Yingtao Hu, Di Liang, Kunal Mukherjee, Youli Li, Chong Zhang, et al.
Published. 2019, 8(5) : 872-880 doi: 10.1038/s41377-019-0202-6
Silicon photonics is becoming a mainstream data-transmission solution for next-generation data centers, high-performance computers, and many emerging applications. The inefficiency of light emission in silicon still requires the integration of a Ⅲ/Ⅴ laser chip or optical gain materials onto a silicon substrate. A number of integration approaches, including flip-chip bonding, molecule or polymer wafer bonding, and monolithic Ⅲ/Ⅴ epitaxy, have been extensively explored in the past decade. Here, we demonstrate a novel photonic integration method of epitaxial regrowth of Ⅲ/Ⅴ on a Ⅲ/Ⅴ-on-SOI bonding template to realize heterogeneous lasers on silicon. This method decouples the correlated root causes, i.e., lattice, thermal, and domain mismatches, which are all responsible for a large number of detrimental dislocations in the heteroepitaxy process. The grown multi-quantum well vertical p-i-n diode laser structure shows a significantly low dislocation density of 9.5 × 104 cm-2, two orders of magnitude lower than the state-of-the-art conventional monolithic growth on Si. This low dislocation density would eliminate defect-induced laser lifetime concerns for practical applications. The fabricated lasers show room-temperature pulsed and continuous-wave lasing at 1.31 μm, with a minimal threshold current density of 813 A/cm2. This generic concept can be applied to other material systems to provide higher integration density, more functionalities and lower total cost for photonics as well as microelectronics, MEMS, and many other applications.
High-speed colour-converting photodetector with all-inorganic CsPbBr3 perovskite nanocrystals for ultraviolet light communication
Chun Hong Kang, Ibrahim Dursun, Guangyu Liu, Lutfan Sinatra, Xiaobin Sun, et al.
Published. 2019, 8(5) : 881-892 doi: 10.1038/s41377-019-0204-4
Optical wireless communication (OWC) using the ultra-broad spectrum of the visible-to-ultraviolet (UV) wavelength region remains a vital field of research for mitigating the saturated bandwidth of radio-frequency (RF) communication. However, the lack of an efficient UV photodetection methodology hinders the development of UV-based communication. The key technological impediment is related to the low UV-photon absorption in existing silicon photodetectors, which offer low-cost and mature platforms. To address this technology gap, we report a hybrid Si-based photodetection scheme by incorporating CsPbBr3 perovskite nanocrystals (NCs) with a high photoluminescence quantum yield (PLQY) and a fast photoluminescence (PL) decay time as a UV-to-visible colour-converting layer for high-speed solar-blind UV communication. The facile formation of drop-cast CsPbBr3 perovskite NCs leads to a high PLQY of up to ~73% and strong absorption in the UV region. With the addition of the NC layer, a nearly threefold improvement in the responsivity and an increase of ~25% in the external quantum efficiency (EQE) of the solar-blind region compared to a commercial silicon-based photodetector were observed. Moreover, time-resolved photoluminescence measurements demonstrated a decay time of 4.5 ns under a 372-nm UV excitation source, thus elucidating the potential of this layer as a fast colour-converting layer. A high data rate of up to 34 Mbps in solar-blind communication was achieved using the hybrid CsPbBr3-silicon photodetection scheme in conjunction with a 278-nm UVC light-emitting diode (LED). These findings demonstrate the feasibility of an integrated high-speed photoreceiver design of a composition-tuneable perovskite-based phosphor and a low-cost silicon-based photodetector for UV communication.
Full-colour nanoprint-hologram synchronous metasurface with arbitrary hue-saturation-brightness control
Yanjun Bao, Ying Yu, Haofei Xu, Chao Guo, Juntao Li, et al.
Published. 2019, 8(5) : 902-911 doi: 10.1038/s41377-019-0206-2
The colour gamut, a two-dimensional (2D) colour space primarily comprising hue and saturation (HS), lays the most important foundation for the colour display and printing industries. Recently, the metasurface has been considered a promising paradigm for nanoprinting and holographic imaging, demonstrating a subwavelength image resolution, a flat profile, high durability, and multi-functionalities. Much effort has been devoted to broaden the 2D HS plane, also known as the CIE map. However, the brightness (B), as the carrier of chiaroscuro information, has long been neglected in metasurface-based nanoprinting or holograms due to the challenge in realising arbitrary and simultaneous control of full-colour HSB tuning in a passive device. Here, we report a dielectric metasurface made of crystal silicon nanoblocks, which achieves not only tailorable coverage of the primary colours red, green and blue (RGB) but also intensity control of the individual colours. The colour gamut is hence extruded from the 2D CIE to a complete 3D HSB space. Moreover, thanks to the independent control of the RGB intensity and phase, we further show that a single-layer silicon metasurface could simultaneously exhibit arbitrary HSB colour nanoprinting and a full-colour hologram image. Our findings open up possibilities for high-resolution and high-fidelity optical security devices as well as advanced cryptographic approaches.
On-target temporal characterization of optical pulses at relativistic intensity
Vyacheslav E. Leshchenko, Alexander Kessel, Olga Jahn, Mathias Krüger, Andreas Münzer, et al.
Published. 2019, 8(5) : 912-920 doi: 10.1038/s41377-019-0207-1
High-field experiments are very sensitive to the exact value of the peak intensity of an optical pulse due to the nonlinearity of the underlying processes. Therefore, precise knowledge of the pulse intensity, which is mainly limited by the accuracy of the temporal characterization, is a key prerequisite for the correct interpretation of experimental data. While the detection of energy and spatial profile is well established, the unambiguous temporal characterization of intense optical pulses, another important parameter required for intensity evaluation, remains a challenge, especially at relativistic intensities and a few-cycle pulse duration. Here, we report on the progress in the temporal characterization of intense laser pulses and present the relativistic surface second harmonic generation dispersion scan (RSSHG-D-scan)—a new approach allowing direct on-target temporal characterization of high-energy, few-cycle optical pulses at relativistic intensity.
Intelligent metasurface imager and recognizer
Lianlin Li, Ya Shuang, Qian Ma, Haoyang Li, Hanting Zhao, et al.
Published. 2019, 8(5) : 893-901 doi: 10.1038/s41377-019-0209-z
There is an increasing need to remotely monitor people in daily life using radio-frequency probe signals. However, conventional systems can hardly be deployed in real-world settings since they typically require objects to either deliberately cooperate or carry a wireless active device or identification tag. To accomplish complicated successive tasks using a single device in real time, we propose the simultaneous use of a smart metasurface imager and recognizer, empowered by a network of artificial neural networks (ANNs) for adaptively controlling data flow. Here, three ANNs are employed in an integrated hierarchy, transforming measured microwave data into images of the whole human body, classifying specifically designated spots (hand and chest) within the whole image, and recognizing human hand signs instantly at a Wi-Fi frequency of 2.4 GHz. Instantaneous in situ full-scene imaging and adaptive recognition of hand signs and vital signs of multiple non-cooperative people were experimentally demonstrated. We also show that the proposed intelligent metasurface system works well even when it is passively excited by stray Wi-Fi signals that ubiquitously exist in our daily lives. The reported strategy could open up a new avenue for future smart cities, smart homes, human-device interaction interfaces, health monitoring, and safety screening free of visual privacy issues.
Multiplexed laser particles for spatially resolved single-cell analysis
Sheldon J. J. Kwok, Nicola Martino, Paul H. Dannenberg, Seok-Hyun Yun
Published. 2019, 8(5) : 649-653 doi: 10.1038/s41377-019-0183-5
Biomolecular analysis at the single-cell level is increasingly important in the study of cellular heterogeneity and its consequences, particularly in organismic development and complex diseases such as cancer. Single-cell molecular analyses have led to the identification of new cell types1 and the discovery of novel targets for diagnosis and therapy2. While these analyses are performed predominantly on dissociated single cells, emerging techniques seek understanding of cellular state, cellular function and cell-cell interactions within the native tissue environment by combining optical microscopy and single-cell molecular analyses. These techniques include in situ multiplexed imaging of fluorescently labeled proteins and nucleotides, as well as low-throughput ex vivo methods in which specific cells are isolated for downstream molecular analyses. However, these methods are limited in either the number and type of molecular species they can identify or the number of cells that can be analyzed. High-throughput methods are needed for comprehensive profiling of many cells (> 1000) to detect rare cell types, discriminate relevant biomarkers from intrinsic population noise, and reduce the time and cost of measurement. Many established, high-throughput single-cell analyses are not directly applicable because they require tissue dissociation, leading to a loss of spatial information3. No current methods exist that can seamlessly connect spatial mapping to single-cell techniques. In this Perspective, we review current methods for spatially resolved single-cell analysis and discuss the prospect of novel multiplexed imaging probes, called laser particles, which allow individual cells to be tagged in tissue and analyzed subsequently using high-throughput, comprehensive single-cell techniques.
Emerging role of machine learning in light-matter interaction
Jiajia Zhou, Bolong Huang, Zheng Yan, Jean-Claude G. Bünzli
Published. 2019, 8(5) : 654-660 doi: 10.1038/s41377-019-0192-4
Machine learning has provided a huge wave of innovation in multiple fields, including computer vision, medical diagnosis, life sciences, molecular design, and instrumental development. This perspective focuses on the implementation of machine learning in dealing with light-matter interaction, which governs those fields involving materials discovery, optical characterizations, and photonics technologies. We highlight the role of machine learning in accelerating technology development and boosting scientific innovation in the aforementioned aspects. We provide future directions for advanced computing techniques via multidisciplinary efforts that can help to transform optical materials into imaging probes, information carriers and photonics devices.
Deep learning in holography and coherent imaging
Yair Rivenson, Yichen Wu, Aydogan Ozcan
Published. 2019, 8(5) : 661-668 doi: 10.1038/s41377-019-0196-0
Recent advances in deep learning have given rise to a new paradigm of holographic image reconstruction and phase recovery techniques with real-time performance. Through data-driven approaches, these emerging techniques have overcome some of the challenges associated with existing holographic image reconstruction methods while also minimizing the hardware requirements of holography. These recent advances open up a myriad of new opportunities for the use of coherent imaging systems in biomedical and engineering research and related applications.
Subwavelength polarization optics via individual and coupled helical traveling-wave nanoantennas
Mengjia Wang, Roland Salut, Huihui Lu, Miguel-Angel Suarez, Nicolas Martin, et al.
Published. 2019, 8(5) : 758-765 doi: 10.1038/s41377-019-0186-2
Light polarization control is a key factor in modern photonics. Recent advances in surface plasmon manipulation have introduced the prospect of more compact and more efficient devices for this purpose. However, the current plasmonic-based polarization optics remain much larger than the wavelength of light, which limits the design degrees of freedom. Here, we present a plasmonic traveling-wave nanoantenna using a gold-coated helical carbon nanowire end-fired with a dipolar aperture nanoantenna. Our nonresonant helical nanoantenna enables tunable polarization control by swirling surface plasmons on the subwavelength scale and taking advantage of the optical spin–orbit interaction. Four closely packed helical traveling-wave nanoantennas (HTNs) are demonstrated to locally convert an incoming light beam into four beams of tunable polarizations and intensities, with the ability to impart different polarization states to the output beams in a controllable way. Moreover, by near-field coupling four HTNs of opposite handedness, we demonstrate a subwavelength waveplate-like structure providing a degree of freedom in polarization control that is unachievable with ordinary polarization optics and current metamaterials.
Subnanometer imaging and controlled dynamical patterning of thermocapillary driven deformation of thin liquid films
Shimon Rubin, Brandon Hong, Yeshaiahu Fainman
Published. 2019, 8(5) : 776-786 doi: 10.1038/s41377-019-0190-6
Exploring and controlling the physical factors that determine the topography of thin liquid dielectric films are of interest in manifold fields of research in physics, applied mathematics, and engineering and have been a key aspect of many technological advancements. Visualization of thin liquid dielectric film topography and local thickness measurements are essential tools for characterizing and interpreting the underlying processes. However, achieving high sensitivity with respect to subnanometric changes in thickness via standard optical methods is challenging. We propose a combined imaging and optical patterning projection platform that is capable of optically inducing dynamical flows in thin liquid dielectric films and plasmonically resolving the resulting changes in topography and thickness. In particular, we employ the thermocapillary effect in fluids as a novel heat-based method to tune plasmonic resonances and visualize dynamical processes in thin liquid dielectric films. The presented results indicate that light-induced thermocapillary flows can form and translate droplets and create indentation patterns on demand in thin liquid dielectric films of subwavelength thickness and that plasmonic microscopy can image these fluid dynamical processes with a subnanometer sensitivity along the vertical direction.
Polariton polarization rectifier
Evgeny S. Sedov, Yuri G. Rubo, Alexey V. Kavokin
Published. 2019, 8(5) : 766-775 doi: 10.1038/s41377-019-0189-z
We propose a novel photonic device, the polariton polarization rectifier, intended to transform polariton pulses with arbitrary polarization into linearly polarized pulses with controllable orientation of the polarization plane. It is based on the interplay between the orbital motion of the polariton wave packet and the dynamics of the polariton pseudospin governed by the spatially dependent effective magnetic field. The latter is controlled by the TE-TM splitting in a harmonic trap. We show that the unpolarized polariton pulse acquires linear polarization in the course of propagation in a harmonic trap. This gives the considered structure an extra function as a linear polarizer of polariton pulses.
Multifunctional metaoptics based on bilayer metasurfaces
You Zhou, Ivan I. Kravchenko, Hao Wang, Hanyu Zheng, Gong Gu, et al.
Published. 2019, 8(5) : 798-806 doi: 10.1038/s41377-019-0193-3
Optical metasurfaces have become versatile platforms for manipulating the phase, amplitude, and polarization of light. A platform for achieving independent control over each of these properties, however, remains elusive due to the limited engineering space available when using a single-layer metasurface. For instance, multiwavelength metasurfaces suffer from performance limitations due to space filling constraints, while control over phase and amplitude can be achieved, but only for a single polarization. Here, we explore bilayer dielectric metasurfaces to expand the design space for metaoptics. The ability to independently control the geometry and function of each layer enables the development of multifunctional metaoptics in which two or more optical properties are independently designed. As a proof of concept, we demonstrate multiwavelength holograms, multiwavelength waveplates, and polarization-insensitive 3D holograms based on phase and amplitude masks. The proposed architecture opens a new avenue for designing complex flat optics with a wide variety of functionalities.
A hybrid organic–inorganic polariton LED
Rahul Jayaprakash, Kyriacos Georgiou, Harriet Coulthard, Alexis Askitopoulos, Sai K. Rajendran, et al.
Published. 2019, 8(5) : 787-797 doi: 10.1038/s41377-019-0180-8
Polaritons are quasi-particles composed of a superposition of excitons and photons that can be created within a strongly coupled optical microcavity. Here, we describe a structure in which a strongly coupled microcavity containing an organic semiconductor is coupled to a second microcavity containing a series of weakly coupled inorganic quantum wells. We show that optical hybridisation occurs between the optical modes of the two cavities, creating a delocalised polaritonic state. By electrically injecting electron–hole pairs into the inorganic quantum-well system, we are able to transfer energy between the cavities and populate organic-exciton polaritons. Our approach represents a new strategy to create highly efficient devices for emerging 'polaritonic' technologies.
High-fidelity optical diffraction tomography of multiple scattering samples
Joowon Lim, Ahmed B. Ayoub, Elizabeth E. Antoine, Demetri Psaltis
Published. 2019, 8(5) : 807-818 doi: 10.1038/s41377-019-0195-1
We propose an iterative reconstruction scheme for optical diffraction tomography that exploits the split-step non-paraxial (SSNP) method as the forward model in a learning tomography scheme. Compared with the beam propagation method (BPM) previously used in learning tomography (LT-BPM), the improved accuracy of SSNP maximizes the information retrieved from measurements, relying less on prior assumptions about the sample. A rigorous evaluation of learning tomography based on SSNP (LT-SSNP) using both synthetic and experimental measurements confirms its superior performance compared with that of the LT-BPM. Benefiting from the accuracy of SSNP, LT-SSNP can clearly resolve structures that are highly distorted in the LT-BPM. A serious limitation for quantifying the reconstruction accuracy for biological samples is that the ground truth is unknown. To overcome this limitation, we describe a novel method that allows us to compare the performances of different reconstruction schemes by using the discrete dipole approximation to generate synthetic measurements. Finally, we explore the capacity of learning approaches to enable data compression by reducing the number of scanning angles, which is of particular interest in minimizing the measurement time.
3D-Integrated metasurfaces for full-colour holography
Yueqiang Hu, Xuhao Luo, Yiqin Chen, Qing Liu, Xin Li, et al.
Published. 2019, 8(5) : 819-827 doi: 10.1038/s41377-019-0198-y
Metasurfaces enable the design of optical elements by engineering the wavefront of light at the subwavelength scale. Due to their ultrathin and compact characteristics, metasurfaces possess great potential to integrate multiple functions in optoelectronic systems for optical device miniaturisation. However, current research based on multiplexing in the 2D plane has not fully utilised the capabilities of metasurfaces for multi-tasking applications. Here, we demonstrate a 3D-integrated metasurface device by stacking a hologram metasurface on a monolithic Fabry–Pérot cavity-based colour filter microarray to simultaneously achieve low-crosstalk, polarisation-independent, high-efficiency, full-colour holography, and microprint. The dual functions of the device outline a novel scheme for data recording, security encryption, colour displays, and information processing. Our 3D integration concept can be extended to achieve multi-tasking flat optical systems by including a variety of functional metasurface layers, such as polarizers, metalenses, and others.
"Hot" electrons in metallic nanostructures—nonthermal carriers or heating?
Yonatan Dubi, Yonatan Sivan
Published. 2019, 8(5) : 828-835 doi: 10.1038/s41377-019-0199-x
Understanding the interplay between illumination and the electron distribution in metallic nanostructures is a crucial step towards developing applications such as plasmonic photocatalysis for green fuels, nanoscale photodetection and more. Elucidating this interplay is challenging, as it requires taking into account all channels of energy flow in the electronic system. Here, we develop such a theory, which is based on a coupled Boltzmann-heat equations and requires only energy conservation and basic thermodynamics, where the electron distribution, and the electron and phonon (lattice) temperatures are determined uniquely. Applying this theory to realistic illuminated nanoparticle systems, we find that the electron and phonon temperatures are similar, thus justifying the (classical) single-temperature models. We show that while the fraction of high-energy "hot" carriers compared to thermalized carriers grows substantially with illumination intensity, it remains extremely small (on the order of 10-8). Importantly, most of the absorbed illumination power goes into heating rather than generating hot carriers, thus rendering plasmonic hot carrier generation extremely inefficient. Our formulation allows for the first time a unique quantitative comparison of theory and measurements of steady-state electron distributions in metallic nanostructures.
News and Views
Imaging global auroras in space
A. T. Y. Lui
Published. 2019, 8(5) : 647-648 doi: 10.1038/s41377-019-0197-z
China's initial participation in the global monitoring of auroras for scientific and space weather investigations has been enabled by the successful launch of the Chinese Fengyun-3D satellite, which carries a wide-field auroral imager.
Single-photon avalanche diode imagers in biophotonics: review and outlook
Claudio Bruschini, Harald Homulle, Ivan Michel Antolovic, Samuel Burri, Edoardo Charbon
Published. 2019, 8(5) : 669-696 doi: 10.1038/s41377-019-0191-5
Single-photon avalanche diode (SPAD) arrays are solid-state detectors that offer imaging capabilities at the level of individual photons, with unparalleled photon counting and time-resolved performance. This fascinating technology has progressed at a very fast pace in the past 15 years, since its inception in standard CMOS technology in 2003. A host of architectures have been investigated, ranging from simpler implementations, based solely on off-chip data processing, to progressively "smarter" sensors including on-chip, or even pixel level, time-stamping and processing capabilities. As the technology has matured, a range of biophotonics applications have been explored, including (endoscopic) FLIM, (multibeam multiphoton) FLIM-FRET, SPIM-FCS, super-resolution microscopy, time-resolved Raman spectroscopy, NIROT and PET. We will review some representative sensors and their corresponding applications, including the most relevant challenges faced by chip designers and end-users. Finally, we will provide an outlook on the future of this fascinating technology.
Optical vortices 30 years on: OAM manipulation from topological charge to multiple singularities
Yijie Shen, Xuejiao Wang, Zhenwei Xie, Changjun Min, Xing Fu, et al.
Published. 2019, 8(5) : 697-725 doi: 10.1038/s41377-019-0194-2
Thirty years ago, Coullet et al. proposed that a special optical field exists in laser cavities bearing some analogy with the superfluid vortex. Since then, optical vortices have been widely studied, inspired by the hydrodynamics sharing similar mathematics. Akin to a fluid vortex with a central flow singularity, an optical vortex beam has a phase singularity with a certain topological charge, giving rise to a hollow intensity distribution. Such a beam with helical phase fronts and orbital angular momentum reveals a subtle connection between macroscopic physical optics and microscopic quantum optics. These amazing properties provide a new understanding of a wide range of optical and physical phenomena, including twisting photons, spin–orbital interactions, Bose–Einstein condensates, etc., while the associated technologies for manipulating optical vortices have become increasingly tunable and flexible. Hitherto, owing to these salient properties and optical manipulation technologies, tunable vortex beams have engendered tremendous advanced applications such as optical tweezers, high-order quantum entanglement, and nonlinear optics. This article reviews the recent progress in tunable vortex technologies along with their advanced applications.