Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Automation & Microfluidics
Scientific Community
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

Optical Vortices on a Chip

Published: Monday, October 22, 2012
Last Updated: Monday, October 22, 2012
Bookmark and Share
An international research group has demonstrated integrated arrays of emitters of so called ‘optical vortex beams’ onto a silicon chip.

Contradicting traditional conception, light in such beams does not propagate in straight rays. Instead, its energy travels in a spiral fashion in a hollow conical beam shape. The beams therefore look very much like a vortex or cyclone, with its light rays ‘twisted’ either left-handed or right-handed.  In theory, there is no limit to how twisted the light rays can be.

In quantum mechanics, this feature is associated with the ‘orbital angular momentum’ (OAM) of photons – photons in such beams can be thought to orbit around the beam axis, somewhat similar to the movement of planets around the Sun or electrons around a nucleus.

When such light interacts with matter, it asserts a rotational force (a torque) on the matter; therefore it can be used as so called ‘optical spanners’ in addition to ‘optical tweezers’, which can rotate as well as trap microscopic particles or droplets. Different degree of twist can also be used to transmit information – allowing more information to be carried by a single optical signal, and increasing the capacity of optical communications links.

Light beams at the same frequency but with different OAM values can be used to transmit different streams information. Single particles of light (photons) can use these different degrees of twist to represent quantum information, where a single photon can be twisting both clockwise and anti-clockwise at the same time. Applications are also being developed in using such light for imaging and sensing purposes. For example some molecules are chiral - they look the same under normal optical microscopes until illuminated by optical vortex beams with different degrees or directions of twist.

Conventionally the generation of such beams relied on bulk optical elements such as plates, lenses, and holograms. These are good for research but can be inconvenient for many applications, in particular where large numbers of such beams are needed at high packing density.

In contrast, the new emitters invented at Bristol are only a few micrometres in size and thousands of times smaller than conventional elements. They are based on silicon optical waveguides and can be made using standard integrated circuit fabrication technologies.

Siyuan Yu, Professor of Photonics Information Systems in the Photonics Research Group at the University of Bristol, who led the research, said: “Our microscopic optical vortex devices are so small and compact that silicon micro-chip containing thousands of emitters could be fabricated at very low costs and in high volume.

“Such integrated devices and systems could open up entirely new applications of optical vortex beams previously unattainable using bulk optics.”

These devices are readily interconnected with each other to form complex and large arrays in photonic integrated circuits, and could be used for applications including communications, sensing and microscopic particle manipulation.

Dr Mark Thompson, Deputy Director of the Centre for Quantum Photonics at the University of Bristol, added: “Perhaps one of the most exciting applications is the control of twisted light at the single photon level, enabling us to exploit the quantum mechanical properties of optical vortices for future applications in quantum communications and quantum computation.”


Further Information

Join For Free

Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 3,100+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 4,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.


Scientific News
The Rise of 3D Cell Culture and in vitro Model Systems for Drug Discovery and Toxicology
An overview of the current technology and the challenges and benefits over 2D cell culture models plus some of the latest advances relating to human health research.
Biosensor Detects Molecules Linked to Cancer, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's
Novel biosensor has been proven capable of detecting molecules associated with neurodegenerative diseases and some types of cancer.
New Device Could Improve Cancer Detection
UBC researchers develop a microfluidic device to capture circulating tumor cells.
Gut Model HuMiX Works Like the Real Thing
Developed by scientists at the Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biology, the “Human Microbial Cross-talk” model is representative of the actual conditions and processes that occur within our intestines.
'Kidney on a Chip' Facilitates Safer Drug Dosing
University of Michigan researchers have used a "kidney on a chip" device to mimic the flow of medication through human kidneys and measure its effect on kidney cells.
AACR 2016: Cancer Immunotherapy and Beyond
At this year's meeting there was a palpable buzz around subjects ranging from microbiomics to the tumor microenvironment and cancer vaccines, big data to in vitro and in vivo modeling and drug delivery (to name just a few).
Releasing Cancer Cells for Better Analysis
A new device developed at the University of Michigan could provide a non-invasive way to monitor the progress of an advanced cancer treatment.
Lab-on-a-Chip for Detecting Glucose
By integrating microfluidic chips with fiber optic biosensors, researchers in China are creating ultrasensitive lab-on-a-chip devices to detect glucose levels.
Soy Shows Promise as Natural Anti-Microbial Agent
Soy isoflavones and peptides may inhibit the growth of microbial pathogens that cause food-borne illnesses, according to a new study from University of Guelph researchers.
Soy Shows Promise as Natural Anti-Microbial Agent
Researchers from University of Guelph show that soy isoflavones and peptides could be used to reduce microbial contamination of food.
Scroll Up
Scroll Down
Skyscraper Banner

SELECTBIO Market Reports
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
3,100+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,500+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!