Color-selective three-dimensional polarization structures

Light Sci Appl. 2022 Oct 17;11(1):302. doi: 10.1038/s41377-022-00961-y.


Polarization as an important degree of freedom for light plays a key role in optics. Structured beams with controlled polarization profiles have diverse applications, such as information encoding, display, medical and biological imaging, and manipulation of microparticles. However, conventional polarization optics can only realize two-dimensional polarization structures in a transverse plane. The emergent ultrathin optical devices consisting of planar nanostructures, so-called metasurfaces, have shown much promise for polarization manipulation. Here we propose and experimentally demonstrate color-selective three-dimensional (3D) polarization structures with a single metasurface. The geometric metasurfaces are designed based on color and phase multiplexing and polarization rotation, creating various 3D polarization knots. Remarkably, different 3D polarization knots in the same observation region can be achieved by controlling the incident wavelengths, providing unprecedented polarization control with color information in 3D space. Our research findings may be of interest to many practical applications such as vector beam generation, virtual reality, volumetric displays, security, and anti-counterfeiting.