Chip-scale atomic diffractive optical elements


Liron Stern, Douglas G. Bopp, Susan A. Schima, Vincent N. Maurice, and John E. Kitching. 2019. “Chip-scale atomic diffractive optical elements.” Nature Communications, 10, 1, Pp. 3156.


The efficient light–matter interaction and discrete level structure of atomic vapors made possible numerous seminal scientific achievements including time-keeping, extreme non-linear interactions, and strong coupling to electric and magnetic fields in quantum sensors. As such, atomic systems can be regarded as a highly resourceful quantum material platform. Recently, the field of thin optical elements with miniscule features has been extensively studied demonstrating an unprecedented ability to control photonic degrees of freedom. Hybridization of atoms with such thin optical devices may offer a material system enhancing the functionality of traditional vapor cells. Here, we demonstrate chip-scale, quantum diffractive optical elements which map atomic states to the spatial distribution of diffracted light. Two foundational diffractive elements, lamellar gratings and Fresnel lenses, are hybridized with atomic vapors demonstrating exceptionally strong frequency-dependent, non-linear and magneto-optic behaviors. Providing the design tools for chip-scale atomic diffractive optical elements develops a path for compact thin quantum-optical elements. Quantum coherence and the nonlinear properties of atoms are highly useful in optical devices. Here the authors show quantum-optic hybrid platforms in fully integrated chip-scale atomic diffractive optical elements by embedding hot atomic Rb vapor in microfabricated structures in silicon.