Physics

Optical Beam-Steering

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Science  22 Mar 2013:
Vol. 339, Issue 6126, pp. 1361
DOI: 10.1126/science.339.6126.1361-b

Antenna arrays have long been used for communication and sensing purposes. In the microwave and radio wavelength regime of the electromagnetic spectrum, arrays of antennas in which the phase and amplitude input to each element is varied can provide tailored beam profiles with controlled directionality. Applications can be found across many fields, from target tracking and guidance to astronomy and weather observations. Carrying over the principles of phased-array antenna technology, DeRose et al. have developed an optical phased array based on metallic nanoemitters patterned on a complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS)–compatible substrate. With the input to each antenna element fed in using a coupled waveguide integrated with a phase shifter, they show that electrical control of the phase results in wide-angle beam-steering capability. Operating at near-infrared wavelength, the ability to manipulate an optical beam over a two-dimensional area should find use in compact high-speed communication over free space.

Opt. Express 21, 5198 (2013).

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