A perfect switch made from a high-refractive index dimer

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Nature Communications, 4 January 2017

A perfect switch and a beam-splitter controlled by the polarization of the electromagnetic wave have been performed with a dimer of high-refractive index

Nature Communications 4 January 2017

In this article, researchers from Institut Fresnel (CNRS/AMU/ECM), the Centre Commun de Ressources en Microondes (CCRM) and the University of Cantabria (Santander, Espagne) are detailing a new optical device performing as a switch and a beam-splitter with respect to the incoming light. It consists of a simple dimer (a pair of identical spheres) made of high-refractive index material such as semi-conductors. The control of the desired binary state is performed by just rotating the polarization of the incident beam. The effect is visible at 90° from the impinging direction, which is particularly convenient for practical applications. The functioning of the device has been experimentally validated thanks to a microwave analogy approach. Experiments have been performed with the CCRM setup. Theoretical work has also been conducted in order to fully appraise the involved dipolar phenomena and to optimize the component. Below, a sketch of the operating principle is provided : the switch is either in a passing mode (upper figure, with a horizontal polarized beam) or in a blocking mode (lower figure, with a vertical polarized beam). The outcomes of such an optical component can be found here.

Reference :
Angela I. Barreda, Hassan Saleh, Amelie Litman, Francisco Gonzalez, Jean-Michel Geffrin, Fernando Moreno
“Electromagnetic polarization-controlled perfect switching effect with high-refractive-index dimers and the beam-splitter configuration”,
NATURE COMMUNICATIONS, Vol. 8, Art. N° 13910, 2017 (January 4)


Contact :
Institut Fresnel - CNRS UMR 7249, Marseille, France
Amélie LITMAN, , Associate Professor at Aix-Marseille Univ, Head of the HIPE Team
amelie.litman chez fresnel.fr
Phone : +33 4 91 28 80 04