Flat Optics for Dynamic Wavefront Manipulation and Mixed Reality Eyewear

Mark Brongersma


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Date: February 16, 2022


Since the development of diffractive optical elements in the 1970s, major research efforts have focused on replacing bulky optical components by thinner, planar counterparts. The more recent advent of metasurfaces, i.e. nanostructured optical coatings, has further accelerated the development of flat optics through the realization that nanoscale antenna elements can be utilized to facilitate local and nonlocal control over the light scattering amplitude and phase.
In this presentation, I will start by showing how passive and active metasurfaces can start to impact Augmented and Virtual Reality applications. I will discuss the creation of high-efficiency, metasurfaces for optical combiners for near-eye displays, OLED displays, and eye tracking systems. I will also highlight recent efforts in our group to realize electrically-tunable metasurfaces employing nanomechanics, tunable transparent oxides, microfluidics, phase change materials, and atomically-thin semiconductors. Such elements are capable of dynamic wavefront manipulation for optical beam steering and holography. The proposed optical elements can be fabricated by scalable fabrication technologies, opening the door to a wide range of commercial applications.

Further Information:

Mark Brongersma is the Stephen Harris Professor in the Departments of Materials Science and Applied Physics at Stanford University. He leads a research team of ten students and five postdocs. Their research is directed towards the development and physical analysis of new materials and structures that find use in nanoscale electronic and photonic devices. He is on the list of Global Highly Cited Researchers (Clarivate Analytics). He received a National Science Foundation Career Award, the Walter J. Gores Award for Excellence in Teaching, the International Raymond and Beverly Sackler Prize in the Physical Sciences (Physics) for his work on plasmonics, and is a Fellow of the OSA, the SPIE, and the APS. Dr. Brongersma received his PhD from the FOM Institute AMOLF in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, in 1998. From 1998-2001 he was a postdoctoral research fellow at the California Institute of Technology.

Created: Wednesday, February 16th, 2022