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21 August 2020 Inverse design approaches for volumetric meta-optics
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With modern nanofabrication technology, researchers and companies can reliably produce 3-dimensional patterns with feature sizes much smaller than the wavelength of visible light. The ability to do this in a scalable fashion brings nanophotonic research into the realm of commercial technology. For example, metasurfaces achieve high optical performance in fractions of the thickness of traditional bulky optical components and can be designed for unique, custom functionalities. By expanding the design space beyond the metasurface regime and allowing for photonic designs in full three dimensions, we can further increase the degrees of freedom at our disposal. This new design space is complex and inherently involves multiply scattering structures. In order to efficiently search for good solutions, we use an inverse design procedure based on the adjoint variable method. Taking advantage of this large design space, we can computationally optimize multi-functional meta-optical devices that achieve novel functionalities in minimal footprints. We demonstrate wavelength splitting photonic filters with application to color filter arrays on modern-day image sensors. These filters are designed to replace absorbing filters and instead re-route colors to specific sensor locations, thus recovering previously lost transmission. We show that these devices work with a variety of realistic fabrication restrictions and demonstrate their abilities experimentally in the microwave regime where we can realize layered devices via simple techniques like 3D printing. Finally, we comment on potential future applications and avenues where inverse design can help solve inherently difficult engineering challenges in nanophotonics.
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Gregory Roberts, Conner Ballew, Tianzhe Zheng, Philip Camayd-Muñoz, and Andrei Faraon "Inverse design approaches for volumetric meta-optics", Proc. SPIE 11462, Plasmonics: Design, Materials, Fabrication, Characterization, and Applications XVIII, 114621D (21 August 2020); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2569132
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