Planar Optics

Removing the rainbow from diffractive optics

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Science  04 Aug 2017:
Vol. 357, Issue 6350, pp. 468-469
DOI: 10.1126/science.357.6350.468-g

When white light hits a structured surface, different wavelengths are diffracted in different directions, creating a rainbow of colors, as can be seen in opals or the strong iridescent colors of some insects and butterfly wings. In developing diffractive optical elements, such beauty seen in the natural world becomes a bug in terms of chromatic aberration. Using judiciously patterned dielectric surfaces, Arbabi et al. designed a metasurface so that the phase and wavelength of the diffracted light could be controlled, and they demonstrated the ability to fabricate focusing mirrors with reduced chromatic dispersion. Such control over the chromatic dispersion will be crucial in developing planar optical elements.

Optica 4, 625 (2017).

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