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Proceedings Paper

Polarization scrambling with metallic meander structures for space applications
Author(s): Philipp Schau; Liwei Fu; Karsten Frenner; Heinz Schweizer; Martin Schäferling; Thomas Weiss; Harald Giessen; Luis Miguel Gaspar Venancio; Sandro Hannemann; Wolfgang Osten
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Paper Abstract

Periodic single metallic meander structures have been shown to exhibit extraordinary transmission in the visible frequency domain within a well-defined pass band that can be shifted by geometry variation. Furthermore, meander structures are not only linear polarizers but also induce phase retardation between s- and p-polarized light. In addition, they are able to convert the polarization of light due to plasmonic excitations. Those features combined with the advantages of plasmonic metamaterials in general, such as radiation stability, temperature independence and low weight make them perfect candidates for optical devices in space instruments. We show analytically and numerically that an optical depolarizer can be designed by spatially distributing meander structures in a pixel-like fashion and rotating each element by a random angle. The depolarizing properties of meander structures, indicated by the Mueller matrix elements, are investigated for various geometrical parameters and can be improved by stacking two meander structures onto each other. The presented polarization scrambler can be flexibly designed to work anywhere in the visible wavelength range with a bandwidth of up to 100 THz. Furthermore, the depolarization effect relies on optical activity rather than scattering. With our preliminary design, we achieve depolarization rates larger than 60% for arbitrarily polarized, monochromatic or narrow-band light, respectively. One advantage of our concept is the flexibility to tune the polarization scrambler to a particular optical frequency or functionality. Circularly polarized light (S = [1, 0, 0, ±1]) for instance could be depolarized by 95% at 600 THz.

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 May 2012
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 8423, Metamaterials VII, 842314 (1 May 2012); doi: 10.1117/12.924051
Show Author Affiliations
Philipp Schau, Univ. Stuttgart (Germany)
Liwei Fu, Univ. Stuttgart (Germany)
Karsten Frenner, Univ. Stuttgart (Germany)
Heinz Schweizer, Univ. Stuttgart (Germany)
Martin Schäferling, Univ. Stuttgart (Germany)
Thomas Weiss, Univ. Stuttgart (Germany)
Harald Giessen, Univ. Stuttgart (Germany)
Luis Miguel Gaspar Venancio, European Space Research and Technology Ctr. (Netherlands)
Sandro Hannemann, cosine Research B.V. (Netherlands)
Wolfgang Osten, Univ. Stuttgart (Germany)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8423:
Metamaterials VII
Allan D. Boardman; Nigel P. Johnson; Richard W. Ziolkowski, Editor(s)

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