A full degree-of-freedom spatiotemporal light modulator

Panuski, Christopher L. and Christen, Ian and Minkov, Momchil and Brabec, Cole J. and Trajtenberg-Mills, Sivan and Griffiths, Alexander D. and McKendry, Jonathan J. D. and Leake, Gerald L. and Coleman, Daniel J. and Tran, Cung and St. Louis, Jeffrey and Mucci, John and Horvath, Cameron and Westwood-Bachman, Jocelyn N. and Preble, Stefan F. and Dawson, Martin D. and Strain, Michael J. and Fanto, Michael L. and Englund, Dirk R. (2022) A full degree-of-freedom spatiotemporal light modulator. Nature Photonics, 16 (12). 834–842. ISSN 1749-4885 (https://doi.org/10.1038/s41566-022-01086-9)

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Harnessing the full complexity of optical fields requires the complete control of all degrees of freedom within a region of space and time—an open goal for present-day spatial light modulators, active metasurfaces and optical phased arrays. Here, we resolve this challenge with a programmable photonic crystal cavity array enabled by four key advances: (1) near-unity vertical coupling to high-finesse microcavities through inverse design; (2) scalable fabrication by optimized 300 mm full-wafer processing; (3) picometre-precision resonance alignment using automated, closed-loop ‘holographic trimming’; and (4) out-of-plane cavity control via a high-speed μLED array. Combining each, we demonstrate the near-complete spatiotemporal control of a 64 resonator, two-dimensional spatial light modulator with nanosecond- and femtojoule-order switching. Simultaneously operating wavelength-scale modes near the space–bandwidth and time–bandwidth limits, this work opens a new regime of programmability at the fundamental limits of multimode optical control.


Panuski, Christopher L., Christen, Ian, Minkov, Momchil, Brabec, Cole J., Trajtenberg-Mills, Sivan, Griffiths, Alexander D. ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1124-4751, McKendry, Jonathan J. D. ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6379-3955, Leake, Gerald L., Coleman, Daniel J., Tran, Cung, St. Louis, Jeffrey, Mucci, John, Horvath, Cameron, Westwood-Bachman, Jocelyn N., Preble, Stefan F., Dawson, Martin D. ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6639-2989, Strain, Michael J. ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9752-3144, Fanto, Michael L. and Englund, Dirk R.;