PerspectiveApplied Physics

Nanophotonics gets twisted

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Science  13 May 2016:
Vol. 352, Issue 6287, pp. 774
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaf6388

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Nanophotonics investigates the processing of light at the nanoscale, with the promise of transforming the telecommunication, biomedical, and computation industries. Advances in nanophotonics have traditionally been boosted but also limited by our capabilities of fabricating complex structures at the nanoscale. On page 805 of this issue, Ren et al. (1) try to break free of these limitations with their experimental demonstration of a simple nanostructure that can separate and process complex light modes carrying angular momentum. Thus, instead of processing light fields with complex nanostructures, the idea is to use comparatively simpler structures and push the complexity to the light fields themselves.