Optical metasurfaces: From fundamental science to application

R. Devlin
United States

Keywords: optical, metasurfaces


Traditional materials have predetermined optical properties based on the material’s refractive index and dispersion. By judiciously patterning materials on a scale smaller than the wavelength of light, however, one can create “metamaterials” with electromagnetic responses not achievable in natural materials. Metasurfaces are optical elements with nanoscale thickness and planar profiles that take advantage of this subwavelength patterning to mimic and expand upon the functionality of traditional refractive optics. Produced using standard CMOS processes, metasurfaces enable mass production of optics in semiconductor foundries and provide a route to massively-parallel wafer-scale integration of optical systems. In this talk, I will begin by discussing the fundamentals of metasurfaces and material processing advances that have allowed metasurfaces to perform comparably or better than commercial lenses. I will cover how metasurfaces can realize similar functionality to traditional optics in a smaller form factor, improved functionality offered by metasurfaces, as well as multifunctional aspects of metasurface (e.g., wavelength and polarization diversity) that cannot be carried out by traditional refractive optics. I will also discuss how Metalenz Inc., a startup focused on commercializing metasurfaces in consumer electronic applications, is transitioning this technology into high volume markets and scaling of the manufacturing processes.