Optics

Polarimetry takes to a new plane

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Science  26 Feb 2016:
Vol. 351, Issue 6276, pp. 930
DOI: 10.1126/science.351.6276.930-c

Polarimetry involves the measurement of polarization of light. Polarization can be used in characterization of a material, in remote sensing applications, or even as a degree of freedom for the encoding of information in an optic fiber. Determining the polarization of an optical signal typically involves bulk optical components such as lenses, beam splitters, and birefringent crystals; which can quickly become unwieldy for complex optical applications. Mueller et al. take a nanophotonics approach, which uses patterned planar arrays of subwavelength metal antennas, or metasurfaces, designed to scatter light, depending on the specific polarization properties of the light. The demonstration should pave the way for ultracompact on-chip polarimetry applications in sensing, characterization, and optical communication.

Optica 3, 42 (2016).

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