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The “leaky-wave metasurfaces” that Columbia Engineering researchers have created are a new class of integrated photonic devices that can transform light that was once constrained in an optical waveguide into any kind of optical pattern in free space. A global record is set by these devices, which are the first to show simultaneous control of all four optical degrees of freedom: amplitude, phase, polarization ellipticity, and polarization orientation.Because the devices are so thin, transparent, and compatible with photonic integrated circuits (PICs), they can be used to improve optical displays, LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging), optical communications, and quantum optics.”We are excited to find an elegant solution for interfacing free-space optics and integrated photonics—these two platforms have traditionally been studied by investigators from different subfields of optics and have led to commercial products addressing completely.

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