Metasurfaces offer a unique platform to precisely control optical wavefronts and enable the realization of flat lenses, or metalenses, which have the potential to substantially reduce the size and complexity of imaging systems and to realize new imaging modalities. However, it is a major challenge to create achromatic metalenses that produce a single focal length over a broad wavelength range because of the difficulty in simultaneously engineering phase profiles at distinct wavelengths on a single metasurface. For practical applications, there is a further challenge to create broadband achromatic metalenses that work in the transmission mode for incident light waves with any arbitrary polarization state. We developed a design methodology and created libraries of meta-units—building blocks of metasurfaces—with complex cross-sectional geometries to provide diverse phase dispersions (phase as a function of wavelength), which is crucial for creating broadband achromatic metalenses. We elucidated the fundamental limitations of achromatic metalens performance by deriving mathematical equations that govern the tradeoffs between phase dispersion and achievable lens parameters, including the lens diameter, numerical aperture (NA), and bandwidth of achromatic operation. We experimentally demonstrated several dielectric achromatic metalenses reaching the fundamental limitations. These metalenses work in the transmission mode with polarization-independent focusing efficiencies up tomore »
Spaceplates are novel flat-optic devices that implement the optical response of a free-space volume over a smaller length, effectively “compressing space” for light propagation. Together with flat lenses such as metalenses or diffractive lenses, spaceplates have the potential to enable the miniaturization of any free-space optical system. While the fundamental and practical bounds on the performance metrics of flat lenses have been well studied in recent years, a similar understanding of the ultimate limits of spaceplates is lacking, especially regarding the issue of bandwidth, which remains as a crucial roadblock for the adoption of this platform. In this work, we derive fundamental bounds on the bandwidth of spaceplates as a function of their numerical aperture and compression ratio (ratio by which the free-space pathway is compressed). The general form of these bounds is universal and can be applied and specialized for different broad classes of space-compression devices, regardless of their particular implementation. Our findings also offer relevant insights into the physical mechanism at the origin of generic space-compression effects and may guide the design of higher performance spaceplates, opening new opportunities for ultra-compact, monolithic, planar optical systems for a variety of applications.
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- Article No. 738
- Optical Society of America
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- National Science Foundation
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