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Electro-optic spatial light modulator from an engineered organic layer

Simple spatial light modulator made from gold electrodes covered by a thin film of electro-optical material that changes its optical properties in response to electric signals.

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Abstract
“Tailored nanostructures provide at-will control over the properties of light, with applications in imaging and spectroscopy. Active photonics can further open new avenues in remote monitoring, virtual or augmented reality and time-resolved sensing. Nanomaterials with χ(2) nonlinearities achieve highest switching speeds. Current demonstrations typically require a trade-off: they either rely on traditional χ(2) materials, which have low non-linearities, or on application-specific quantum well heterostructures that exhibit a high χ(2) in a narrow band. Here, we show that a thin film of organic electro-optic molecules JRD1 in polymethylmethacrylate combines desired merits for active free-space optics: broadband record-high nonlinearity (10-100 times higher than traditional materials at wavelengths 1100-1600 nm), a custom-tailored nonlinear tensor at the nanoscale, and engineered optical and electronic responses. We demonstrate a tuning of optical resonances by Δλ = 11 nm at DC voltages and a modulation of the transmitted intensity up to 40%, at speeds up to 50 MHz. We realize 2 × 2 single- and 1 × 5 multi-color spatial light modulators. We demonstrate their potential for imaging and remote sensing. The compatibility with compact laser diodes, the achieved millimeter size and the low power consumption are further key features for laser ranging or reconfigurable optics.”

Find the technical paper link here. Find the Harvard article here. Published 10/2021.

Benea-Chelmus, IC., Meretska, M.L., Elder, D.L. et al. Electro-optic spatial light modulator from an engineered organic layer. Nat Commun 12, 5928 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-26035-y



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