An explanation of bound states in the continuum (BICs) is offered. With particular attention to Friedrich–Wintgen BICs, the commentary presents a study by Bogdanov et al., which appears in the same issue of Advanced Photonics.
Transformation optics is a mathematical method that is based on the geometric interpretation of Maxwell’s equations. This technique enables a direct link between a desired electromagnetic (EM) phenomenon and the material response required for its occurrence, providing a powerful and intuitive design tool for the control of EM fields on all length scales. With the unprecedented design flexibility offered by transformation optics (TO), researchers have demonstrated a host of interesting devices, such as invisibility cloaks, field concentrators, and optical illusion devices. Recently, the applications of TO have been extended to the subwavelength scale to study surface plasmon-assisted phenomena, where a general strategy has been suggested to design and study analytically various plasmonic devices and investigate the associated phenomena, such as nonlocal effects, Casimir interactions, and compact dimensions. We review the basic concept of TO and its advances from macroscopic to the nanoscale regimes.
Semiconductor lasers, an important subfield of semiconductor photonics, have fundamentally changed many aspects of our lives and enabled many technologies since their creation in the 1960s. As in other semiconductor-based fields, such as microelectronics, miniaturization has been a constant theme, with nanolasers being an important frontier of research over the last decade. We review the progress, existing issues, and future prospects of nanolasers, especially in relation to their potential application in chip-scale optical interconnects. One of the important challenges in this application is minimizing the size and energy consumption of nanolasers. We begin with the application background of this challenge and then compare basic features of various semiconductor lasers. We present existing issues with nanolasers and discuss potential solutions to meet the size and energy-efficiency challenge. Our discussions cover a broad range of miniaturized lasers, including plasmonic nanolasers and lasers with two-dimensional monolayer gain materials, with focus on near-infrared wavelengths.
The study of resonant dielectric nanostructures with a high refractive index is a new research direction in the nanoscale optics and metamaterial-inspired nanophotonics. Because of the unique optically induced electric and magnetic Mie resonances, high-index nanoscale structures are expected to complement or even replace different plasmonic components in a range of potential applications. We study a strong coupling between modes of a single subwavelength high-index dielectric resonator and analyze the mode transformation and Fano resonances when the resonator’s aspect ratio varies. We demonstrate that strong mode coupling results in resonances with high-quality factors, which are related to the physics of bound states in the continuum when the radiative losses are almost suppressed due to the Friedrich–Wintgen scenario of destructive interference. We explain the physics of these states in terms of multipole decomposition, and show that their appearance is accompanied by a drastic change in the far-field radiation pattern. We reveal a fundamental link between the formation of the high-quality resonances and peculiarities of the Fano parameter in the scattering cross-section spectra. Our theoretical findings are confirmed by microwave experiments for the scattering of high-index cylindrical resonators with a tunable aspect ratio. The proposed mechanism of the strong mode coupling in single subwavelength high-index resonators accompanied by resonances with high-quality factors helps to extend substantially functionalities of all-dielectric nanophotonics, which opens horizons for active and passive nanoscale metadevices.
A key challenge when imaging whole biomedical specimens is how to quickly obtain massive cellular information over a large field of view (FOV). We report a subvoxel light-sheet microscopy (SLSM) method enabling high-throughput volumetric imaging of mesoscale specimens at cellular resolution. A nonaxial, continuous scanning strategy is developed to rapidly acquire a stack of large-FOV images with three-dimensional (3-D) nanoscale shifts encoded. Then, by adopting a subvoxel-resolving procedure, the SLSM method models these low-resolution, cross-correlated images in the spatial domain and can iteratively recover a 3-D image with improved resolution throughout the sample. This technique can surpass the optical limit of a conventional light-sheet microscope by more than three times, with high acquisition speeds of gigavoxels per minute. By fast reconstruction of 3-D cultured cells, intact organs, and live embryos, SLSM method presents a convenient way to circumvent the trade-off between mapping large-scale tissue (>100 mm3) and observing single cell (∼1-μm resolution). It also eliminates the need of complicated mechanical stitching or modulated illumination, using a simple light-sheet setup and fast graphics processing unit-based computation to achieve high-throughput, high-resolution 3-D microscopy, which could be tailored for a wide range of biomedical applications in pathology, histology, neuroscience, etc.
Real-time spectroscopy based on an emerging time-stretch technique can map the spectral information of optical waves into the time domain, opening several fascinating explorations of nonlinear dynamics in mode-locked lasers. However, the self-starting process of mode-locked lasers is quite sensitive to environmental perturbation, which causes the transient behaviors of lasers to deviate from the true buildup process of solitons. We optimize the laser system to improve its stability, which suppresses the Q-switched lasing induced by environmental perturbation. We, therefore, demonstrate the first observation of the entire buildup process of solitons in a mode-locked laser, revealing two possible pathways to generate the temporal solitons. One pathway includes the dynamics of raised relaxation oscillation, quasimode-locking stage, spectral beating behavior, and finally the stable single-soliton mode-locking. The other pathway contains, however, an extra transient bound-state stage before the final single-pulse mode-locking operation. Moreover, we propose a theoretical model to predict the buildup time of solitons, which agrees well with the experimental results. Our findings can bring real-time insights into ultrafast fiber laser design and optimization, as well as promote the application of fiber laser.
Digital holography records the entire wavefront of an object, including amplitude and phase. To reconstruct the object numerically, we can backpropagate the hologram with Fresnel–Kirchhoff integral-based algorithms such as the angular spectrum method and the convolution method. Although effective, these techniques require prior knowledge, such as the object distance, the incident angle between the two beams, and the source wavelength. Undesirable zero-order and twin images have to be removed by an additional filtering operation, which is usually manual and consumes more time in off-axis configuration. In addition, for phase imaging, the phase aberration has to be compensated, and subsequently an unwrapping step is needed to recover the true object thickness. The former either requires additional hardware or strong assumptions, whereas the phase unwrapping algorithms are often sensitive to noise and distortion. Furthermore, for a multisectional object, an all-in-focus image and depth map are desired for many applications, but current approaches tend to be computationally demanding. We propose an end-to-end deep learning framework, called a holographic reconstruction network, to tackle these holographic reconstruction problems. Through this data-driven approach, we show that it is possible to reconstruct a noise-free image that does not require any prior knowledge and can handle phase imaging as well as depth map generation.
We propose and experimentally demonstrate a noniterative diffractive imaging method for reconstructing the complex-valued transmission function of an object illuminated by spatially partially coherent light from the far-field diffraction pattern. Our method is based on a pinhole array mask, which is specially designed such that the correlation function in the mask plane can be obtained directly by inverse Fourier transforming the diffraction pattern. Compared to the traditional iterative diffractive imaging methods using spatially partially coherent illumination, our method is noniterative and robust to the degradation of the spatial coherence of the illumination. In addition to diffractive imaging, the proposed method can also be applied to spatial coherence property characterization, e.g., free-space optical communication and optical coherence singularity measurement.