We show that unique optical properties of metamaterials open unlimited prospects to “engineer” light itself. For example, we demonstrate a novel way of complex light manipulation in few-mode optical fibers using metamaterials highlighting how unique properties of metamaterials, namely the ability to manipulate both electric and magnetic field components, open new degrees of freedom in engineering complex polarization states of light. We discuss several approaches to ultra-compact structured light generation, including a nanoscale beam converter based on an ultra-compact array of nano-waveguides with a circular graded distribution of channel diameters that coverts a conventional laser beam into a vortex with configurable orbital angular momentum and a novel, miniaturized astigmatic optical element based on a single biaxial hyperbolic metamaterial that enables the conversion of Hermite-Gaussian beams into vortex beams carrying an orbital angular momentum and vice versa. Such beam converters is likely to enable a new generation of on-chip or all-fiber structured light applications. We also present our initial theoretical studies predicting that vortex-based nonlinear optical processes, such as second harmonic generation or parametric amplification that rely on phase matching, will also be strongly modified in negative index materials. These studies may find applications for multidimensional information encoding, secure communications, and quantum cryptography as both spin and orbital angular momentum could be used to encode information; dispersion engineering for spontaneous parametric down-conversion; and on-chip optoelectronic signal processing.
Natalia M. Litchinitser, Jingbo Sun, Mikhail I. Shalaev, Tianboyu Xu, Yun Xu, and Apra Pandey, "Structured light-matter interactions in optical nanostructures (Presentation Recording)," Proc. SPIE 9547, Plasmonics: Metallic Nanostructures and Their Optical Properties XIII, 954727 (Presented at SPIE Nanoscience + Engineering: August 13, 2015; Published: 5 October 2015); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2190277.4519370444001.
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