Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Berkeley Lab Researchers Use Metamaterials to Observe Giant Photonic Spin Hall Effect

22.03.2013
Researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have once again demonstrated the incredible capabilities of metamaterials – artificial nanoconstructs whose optical properties arise from their physical structure rather than their chemical composition.
Engineering a unique two-dimensional sheet of gold nanoantennas, the researchers were able to obtain the strongest signal yet of the photonic spin Hall effect, an optical phenomenon of quantum mechanics that could play a prominent role in the future of computing.

“With metamaterial, we were able to greatly enhance a naturally weak effect to the point where it was directly observable with simple detection techniques,” said Xiang Zhang, a faculty scientist with Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences Division who led this research. “We also demonstrated that metamaterials not only allow us to control the propagation of light but also allows control of circular polarization. This could have profound consequences for information encoding and processing.”

Zhang is the corresponding author of a paper describing this work in the journal Science. The paper is titled “Photonic Spin Hall Effect at Metasurfaces.” Co-authors are Xiaobo Yin, Ziliang Ye, Jun Sun Rho and Yuan Wang.

The spin Hall effect, named in honor of physicist Edwin Hall, describes the curved path that spinning electrons follow as they move through a semiconductor. The curved movement arises from the interaction between the physical motion of the electron and its spin – a quantized angular momentum that gives rise to magnetic moment. Think of a baseball pitcher putting spin on a ball to make it curve to the left or right.

“Light moving through a metal also displays the spin Hall effect but the photonic spin Hall effect is very weak because the spin angular momentum of photons and spin-orbit interactions are very small,” says Xiaobo Yin, a member of Zhang’s research group and the lead author of the Science paper. “In the past, people have managed to observe the photonic spin Hall effect by generating the process over and over again to obtain an accumulative signal, or by using highly sophisticated quantum measurements. Our metamaterial makes the photonic spin Hall effect observable even with a simple camera.”

Metamaterials have garnered a lot of attention in recent years because their unique structure affords electromagnetic properties unattainable in nature. For example, a metamaterial can have a negative index of refraction, the ability to bend light backwards, unlike all materials found in nature, which bend light forward. Zhang, who holds the Ernest S. Kuh Endowed Chair Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of California (UC) Berkeley, where he also directs the National Science Foundation’s Nano-scale Science and Engineering Center, has been at the forefront of metamaterials research. For this study, he and his group fashioned metamaterial surfaces about 30 nanometers thick (a human hair by comparison is between 50,000 and 100,000 nanometers thick). These metasurfaces were constructed from V-shaped gold nanoantennas whose geometry could be configured by adjusting the length and orientation of the arms of the Vs.

“We chose eight different antenna configurations with optimized geometry parameters to generate a linear phase gradient along the x direction,” says Yin. “This enabled us to control the propagation of the light and introduce strong photon spin-orbit interactions through rapid changes in direction. The photonic spin Hall effect depends on the curvature of the light’s trajectory, so the sharper the change in propagation direction, the stronger the effect.”
Since the entire metasurface sample measured only 0.3 millimeters, a 50-millimeter lens was used to project the transmission of the light through the metamaterial onto a charge-coupled device (CCD) camera for imaging. From the CCD images, the researchers determined that both the control of light propagation and the giant photonic spin Hall effect were the direct results of the designed meta-material. This finding opens up a wealth of possibilities for new technologies.

“The controllable spin-orbit interaction and momentum transfer between spin and orbital angular momentum allows us to manipulate the information encoded on the polarization of light, much like the 0 and 1 of today’s electronic devices,” Yin says. “But photonic devices could encode more information and provide greater information security than conventional electronic devices.”

Yin says the ability to control left and right circular polarization of light in metamaterial surfaces should allow for the formation of optical elements, like highly coveted “flat lenses,” or the management of light polarization without using wave plates.

“Metamaterials provide us with tremendous design freedom that will allow us to modulate the strength of the photonic spin Hall effect at different spatial locations,” Yin says. “We knew the photonic spin Hall effect existed in nature but it was so hard to detect. Now, with the right metamaterials we can not only enhance this effect we can harness it for our own purposes.”

This research was supported by the DOE Office of Science.

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory addresses the world’s most urgent scientific challenges by advancing sustainable energy, protecting human health, creating new materials, and revealing the origin and fate of the universe. Founded in 1931, Berkeley Lab’s scientific expertise has been recognized with 13 Nobel prizes. The University of California manages Berkeley Lab for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science. For more, visit www.lbl.gov.

DOE’s Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit the Office of Science website at science.energy.gov/.

Lynn Yarris | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.lbl.gov
http://newscenter.lbl.gov/news-releases/2013/03/21/berkeley-lab-researchers-use-metamaterials-to-observe-giant-photonic-spin-hall-effec

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Prediction: More gas-giants will be found orbiting Sun-like stars
22.02.2017 | Carnegie Institution for Science

nachricht NASA's fermi finds possible dark matter ties in andromeda galaxy
22.02.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Microhotplates for a smart gas sensor

22.02.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Scientists unlock ability to generate new sensory hair cells

22.02.2017 | Life Sciences

Prediction: More gas-giants will be found orbiting Sun-like stars

22.02.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>