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Proceedings Paper

Self-configuring complex optics (Conference Presentation)
Author(s): David A. B. Miller

Paper Abstract

Modern micro- and nanofabrication allows very complex optical systems to be fabricated, with potential applications in classical and quantum communications, sensing and information processing. We now know such systems could perform operations well beyond the classical optics of lenses and mirrors; indeed, any legal linear optical operation can be constructed from a mesh of two-beam interferometers [1,2]. One recently demonstrated example [3] is separating arbitrary overlapping orthogonal beams, without fundamental loss. Surprisingly, not only is there a simple way of designing such meshes, but the mesh can even design itself, without any calculations, opening up a new field of self-configuring, self-correcting, and self-stabilizing optics [1-3], and these meshes are well-suited to silicon photonics and possibly nanophotonic implementations. Potential applications include mode multiplexing/demultiplexing in telecommunications, microwave photonics, self-aligning beam couplers, automatic tracking of targets, automatically finding the best channels through a scattering optical system, networks for quantum applications, and many others. This different way of looking at optics has also led to a surprising fundamental advance in rewriting and extending Kirchhoff’s law of thermal radiation [4]. [1] D. A. B. Miller, “Self-configuring universal linear optical component,” Photon. Res. 1, 1-15 (2013) [2] D. A. B. Miller, “Sorting out light,” Science 347, 1423-1424 (2015) [3] A. Annoni et al., “Unscrambling light – automatically undoing strong mixing between modes,” Light Science & Applications 6, e17110 (2017) [4] D. A. B. Miller, L. Zhu, and S. Fan, “Universal modal radiation laws for all thermal emitters,” PNAS 114, 4336-4341 (2017)

Paper Details

Date Published: 14 March 2018
PDF
Proc. SPIE 10540, Quantum Sensing and Nano Electronics and Photonics XV, 1054017 (14 March 2018); doi: 10.1117/12.2295822
Show Author Affiliations
David A. B. Miller, Stanford Univ. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 10540:
Quantum Sensing and Nano Electronics and Photonics XV
Manijeh Razeghi; Gail J. Brown; Jay S. Lewis; Giuseppe Leo, Editor(s)

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