From camera chips to microscopy to endoscopy for medical examinations, from self-driving cars to communication via satellites - optical sensors are the basic building blocks for future technologies. With their work just published in the scientific journal Nature Photonics, researchers at the University of Graz have now laid the foundation for further innovations.
"Controlled by an electronic circuit, many properties of light can be made accessible on our integrated photonic chip, such as the distribution of the light field, its intensity and direction of oscillation. The special thing is that we can not only measure these properties, but also control them in order to generate a customised light field," explains Johannes Bütow, first author of the publication. The physicist is part of the "Optics of Nano and Quantum Materials - Structured Light, Sound and Matter" research group headed by Peter Banzer at the University of Graz.
The combination of various novel functions on a photonic chip, which is only a few millimetres in size, plays an important role in the further miniaturisation of components in technology. Combined in one and the same platform to save space, optical circuits and functionalities of this kind enable numerous innovative applications.
Together with Alexander Bergmann, Institute of Electrical Measurement and Sensor Systems at Graz University of Technology, Peter Banzer heads the recently opened Christian Doppler Laboratory for Structured Matter-based Sensing and, together with his team, is researching on further fundamentals and applications for structured materials and light fields.
Generating free-space structured light with programmable integrated photonics
Johannes Bütow, Jörg S. Eismann, Varun Sharma, Dorian Brandmüller, and Peter Banzer
Nature Photonics, DOI: 10.1038/s41566-023-01354-2