Metasurfaces are artificially engineered ultrathin structures that can finely tailor and control electromagnetic wavefronts. There is currently a strong interest in exploring their capability to lift some fundamental limitations dictated by Lorentz reciprocity, which have strong implications in communication, heat management, and energy harvesting. Time-varying approaches have emerged as attractive alternatives to conventional schemes relying on magnetic or nonlinear materials, but experimental evidence is currently limited to devices such as circulators and antennas. Here, the recently proposed concept of space-time-coding digital metasurfaces is leveraged to break reciprocity. Moreover, it is shown that such nonreciprocal effects can be controlled dynamically. This approach relies on inducing suitable spatiotemporal phase gradients in a programmable way via digital modulation of the metasurface-elements’ phase repsonse, which enable anomalous reflections accompanied by frequency conversions. A prototype operating at microwave frequencies is designed and fabricated for proof-of-concept validation. Measured results are in good agreement with theory, hence providing the first experimental evidence of nonreciprocal reflection effects enabled by space-time-modulated digital metasurfaces. The proposed concept and platform set the stage for “on-demand” realization of nonreciprocal effects, in programmable or reconfigurable fashions, which may find several promising applications, including frequency conversion, Doppler frequency illusion, optical isolation, and unidirectional transmission.
The recently proposed digital coding metasurfaces make it possible to control electromagnetic (EM) waves in real time, and allow the implementation of many different functionalities in a programmable way. However, current configurations are only space-encoded, and do not exploit the temporal dimension. Here, we propose a general theory of space-time modulated digital coding metasurfaces to obtain simultaneous manipulations of EM waves in both space and frequency domains, i.e., to control the propagation direction and harmonic power distribution simultaneously. As proof-of-principle application examples, we consider harmonic beam steering, beam shaping, and scattering-signature control. For validation, we realize a prototype controlled by a field-programmable gate array, which implements the harmonic beam steering via an optimized space-time coding sequence. Numerical and experimental results, in good agreement, demonstrate good performance of the proposed approach, with potential applications to diverse fields such as wireless communications, cognitive radars, adaptive beamforming, holographic imaging.
We report on the first demonstration of a proof-of-principle optical fiber ‘meta-tip’, which integrates a phase-gradient plasmonic metasurface on the fiber tip. For illustration and validation purposes, we present numerical and experimental results pertaining to various prototypes implementing generalized forms of the Snell’s transmission/reflection laws at near-infrared wavelengths. In particular, we demonstrate several examples of beam steering and coupling with surface waves, in fairly good agreement with theory. Our results constitute a first step toward the integration of unprecedented (metasurface-enabled) light-manipulation capabilities in optical-fiber technology. By further enriching the emergent ‘lab-on-fiber’ framework, this may pave the way for the widespread diffusion of optical metasurfaces in real-world applications to communications, signal processing, imaging and sensing.
Light: Science & Applications,
Transformation optics (TO) has established itself as a powerful and versatile approach to the synthesis of metamaterials with prescribed field-manipulation capabilities, via suitable spatial modulation of their constitutive properties inspired by local distortions of the spatial coordinate reference frame. From the mathematical viewpoint, this approach can be reformulated in the frequency-wavenumber reciprocal phase space so as to engineer nonlocal interactions and spatial dispersion effects, which are becoming increasingly relevant in electrodynamics and optics. Here, we present a general nonlocal-TO framework, based on complex-valued, frequency-dependent wavenumber coordinate transformations, and explore its possible applications to scenarios of interest for dispersion engineering. A key attribute of our approach, similar to conventional TO, is the separation of the conceptual design (based on intuitive geometrical considerations) from the actual metamaterial synthesis (based on a suitable approximation of analytically derived constitutive “blueprints”). To illustrate the capabilities and potential of the proposed approach, we address the engineering (from the conceptual design to the actual synthesis) of multilayered metamaterials exhibiting various exotic dispersion effects, including “one-way” (nonreciprocal) propagation, “frozen-mode” regime, and Dirac-point conical singularities. Our approach may open up new perspectives in the systematic design of metamaterials with broad field-manipulation capabilities as well as complex spatiotemporal dispersion effects, with potential applications to nonreciprocal optics, topological photonics, and “computational metamaterials.”
Spatial tailoring of the material constitutive properties is a well-known strategy to mold the local flow of given observables in different physical domains. Coordinate-transformation-based methods (e.g., transformation optics) offer a powerful and systematic approach to design anisotropic, spatially inhomogeneous artificial materials (metamaterials) capable of precisely manipulating wave-based (electromagnetic, acoustic, elastic) as well as diffusion-based (heat) phenomena in a desired fashion. However, as versatile as these approaches have been, most designs have thus far been limited to serving single-target functionalities in a given physical domain. Here, we present a step towards a “transformation multiphysics” framework that allows independent and simultaneous manipulation of multiple physical phenomena. As a proof of principle of this new scheme, we design and synthesize (in terms of realistic material constituents) a metamaterial shell that simultaneously behaves as a thermal concentrator and an electrical “invisibility cloak.” Our numerical results open up intriguing possibilities in the largely unexplored phase space of multifunctional metadevices, with a wide variety of potential applications to electrical, magnetic, acoustic, and thermal scenarios.
Physical Review X,
We introduce the concept of metamaterial analog computing, based on suitably designed metamaterial blocks that can perform mathematical operations (such as spatial differentiation, integration, or convolution) on the profile of an impinging wave as it propagates through these blocks. Two approaches are presented to achieve such functionality: (i) subwavelength structured metascreens combined with graded-index waveguides and (ii) multilayered slabs designed to achieve a desired spatial Green’s function. Both techniques offer the possibility of miniaturized, potentially integrable, wave-based computing systems that are thinner than conventional lens-based optical signal and data processors by several orders of magnitude.