In volume 2, issue 3 of Advanced Photonics, Lan et al. reveal that a split ring resonator can be used as a very efficient thermo-acoustic source compared to other configurations. This commentary provides a quick overview of the work and how it sits in context with other forms of ultrasonic signal acquisition.
Optical frequency combs, a revolutionary light source characterized by discrete and equally spaced frequencies, are usually regarded as a cornerstone for advanced frequency metrology, precision spectroscopy, high-speed communication, distance ranging, molecule detection, and many others. Due to the rapid development of micro/nanofabrication technology, breakthroughs in the quality factor of microresonators enable ultrahigh energy buildup inside cavities, which gives birth to microcavity-based frequency combs. In particular, the full coherent spectrum of the soliton microcomb (SMC) provides a route to low-noise ultrashort pulses with a repetition rate over two orders of magnitude higher than that of traditional mode-locking approaches. This enables lower power consumption and cost for a wide range of applications. This review summarizes recent achievements in SMCs, including the basic theory and physical model, as well as experimental techniques for single-soliton generation and various extraordinary soliton states (soliton crystals, Stokes solitons, breathers, molecules, cavity solitons, and dark solitons), with a perspective on their potential applications and remaining challenges.
Self-imaging is an important function for signal transport, distribution, and processing in integrated optics, which is usually implemented by multimode interference or diffractive imaging process. However, these processes suffer from the resolution limit due to classical wave propagation dynamics. We propose and demonstrate subwavelength optical imaging in one-dimensional silicon waveguide arrays, which is implemented by cascading straight and curved waveguides in sequence. The coupling coefficient between the curved waveguides is tuned to be negative to reach a negative dispersion, which is an analog to a hyperbolic metamaterial with a negative refractive index. Therefore, it endows the waveguide array with a superlens function as it is connected with a traditional straight waveguide array with positive dispersion. With a judiciously engineered cascading silicon waveguide array, we successfully show the subwavelength self-imaging process of each input port of the waveguide array as the single point source. Our approach provides a strategy for dealing with optical signals at the subwavelength scale and indicates functional designs in high-density waveguide integrations.
Overcoming chromatic aberrations is a vital concern in imaging systems in order to facilitate full-color and hyperspectral imaging. By contrast, large dispersion holds opportunities for spectroscopy and tomography. Combining both functions into a single component will significantly enhance its versatility. A strategy is proposed to delicately integrate two lenses with a static resonant phase and a switchable geometric phase separately. The former is a metasurface lens with a linear phase dispersion. The latter is composed of liquid crystals (LCs) with space-variant orientations with a phase profile that is frequency independent. By this means, a broadband achromatic focusing from 0.9 to 1.4 THz is revealed. When a saturated bias is applied on LCs, the geometric phase modulation vanishes, leaving only the resonant phase of the metalens. Correspondingly, the device changes from achromatic to dispersive. Furthermore, a metadeflector with tunable dispersion is demonstrated to verify the universality of the proposed method. Our work may pave a way toward active metaoptics, promoting various imaging applications.
Scattering phenomena affect light propagation through any kind of medium from free space to biological tissues. Finding appropriate strategies to increase the robustness to scattering is the common requirement in developing both communication protocols and imaging systems. Recently, structured light has attracted attention due to its seeming scattering resistance in terms of transmissivity and spatial behavior. Moreover, correlation between optical polarization and orbital angular momentum (OAM), which characterizes the so-called vector vortex beam (VVB) states, seems to allow for the preservation of the polarization pattern. We extend the analysis by investigating both the spatial features and the polarization structure of vectorial optical vortexes propagating in scattering media with different concentrations. Among the observed features, we find a sudden swift decrease in contrast ratio for Gaussian, OAM, and VVB modes for concentrations of the adopted scattering media exceeding 0.09%. Our analysis provides a more general and complete study on the propagation of structured light in dispersive and scattering media.
Dual-comb spectroscopy (DCS) is an emerging spectroscopic tool with the potential to simultaneously achieve a broad spectral coverage and ultrahigh spectral resolution with rapid data acquisition. However, the need for two independently stabilized ultrafast lasers significantly hampers the potential application of DCS. We demonstrate mode-resolved DCS in the THz region based on a free-running single-cavity dual-comb fiber laser with the adaptive sampling method. While the use of a free-running single-cavity dual-comb fiber laser eliminates the need for two mode-locked lasers and their frequency control, the adaptive sampling method strongly prevents the degradation of spectroscopic performance caused by the residual timing jitter in the free-running dual-comb laser. Doppler-limit-approaching absorption features with linewidths down to 25 MHz are investigated for low-pressure acetonitrile/air mixed gas by comb-mode-resolved THz spectroscopy. The successful demonstration clearly indicates its great potential for the realization of low-complexity, Doppler-limited THz spectroscopy instrumentation.
The pixel size of a charge-coupled device (CCD) camera plays a major role in the image resolution, and the square pixels are attributed to the physical anisotropy of the sampling frequency. We synthesize the high sampling frequency directions from multiple frames acquired with different angles to enhance the resolution by 1.4 × over conventional CCD orthogonal sampling. To directly demonstrate the improvement of frequency-domain diagonal extension (FDDE) microscopy, lens-free microscopy is used, as its resolution is dominantly determined by the pixel size. We demonstrate the resolution enhancement with a mouse skin histological specimen and a clinical blood smear sample. Further, FDDE is extended to lens-based photography with an ISO 12233 resolution target. This method paves a new way for enhancing the image resolution for a variety of imaging techniques in which the resolution is primarily limited by the sampling pixel size, for example, microscopy, photography, and spectroscopy.
Microwaves, which have a ∼10-cm wavelength, can penetrate deeper into tissue than photons, heralding exciting deep tissue applications such as modulation or imaging via the thermoacoustic effect. Thermoacoustic conversion efficiency is however very low, even with an exogenous contrast agent. We break this low-conversion limit, using a split ring resonator to effectively collect and confine the microwaves into a submillimeter hot spot for ultrasound emission and achieve a conversion efficiency over 2000 times higher than other reported thermoacoustic contrast agents. Importantly, the frequency of emitted ultrasound can be precisely tuned and multiplexed by modulation of the microwave pulses. Such performance is inaccessible by a piezoelectric-based transducer or a photoacoustic emitter and, therefore, split ring resonators open up new opportunities to study the frequency response of cells in ultrasonic biomodulation. For applications in deep tissue localization, a split ring resonator can be used as a wireless, battery-free ultrasound beacon placed under a breast phantom.