With rapid development toward shrinking the size of traditional photonic systems such as cameras, spectrometers, displays, and illumination systems, there is an urgent need for high-performance and ultra-compact functional optical elements. Metasurfaces, consisting of an array of subwavelength nanoscatterers with spatially varying geometries, have shown remarkable performance as ultrathin multifunctional optical elements. Here, based on an all-dielectric metasurface, we propose and experimentally demonstrate a spatial domain optical depolarizer capable of efficiently depolarizing linearly polarized light in the visible spectral band from 450 nm to 670 nm, with a degree of polarization of less than 10%. Remarkably, it is capable of depolarizing the light beam with a diameter down to several micrometers, about two orders of magnitude smaller than commercial liquid-crystal-based depolarizers. We envision the metasurface depolarizer to find its applications in the next generation ultra-compact grating spectrometers and illumination systems.

1.
A.
Lyot
, “
Recherches sur la polarisation de la lumière des planètes et de quelques substances terrestres
,”
Ann. Obs. Paris
8
,
100
104
(
1928
).
2.
B. H.
Billings
, “
Monochromatic depolarizer
,”
J. Opt. Soc. Am.
41
,
966
975
(
1951
).
3.
N. J.
Diorio
,
M. R.
Fisch
, and
J. L.
West
, “
Filled liquid crystal depolarizers
,”
J. Appl. Phys.
90
,
3675
3678
(
2001
).
4.
B. Y.
Wei
,
P.
Chen
,
S. J.
Ge
,
L. C.
Zhang
,
W.
Hu
, and
Y. Q.
Lu
, “
Liquid crystal depolarizer based on photoalignment technology
,”
Photonics Res.
4
,
70
73
(
2016
).
5.
N. F.
Yu
,
P.
Genevet
,
M. A.
Kats
,
F.
Aieta
,
J. P.
Tetienne
,
F.
Capasso
, and
Z.
Gaburro
, “
Light propagation with phase discontinuities: Generalized laws of reflection and refraction
,”
Science
334
,
333
337
(
2011
).
6.
A. V.
Kildishev
,
A.
Boltasseva
, and
V. M.
Shalaev
, “
Planar photonics with metasurfaces
,”
Science
339
,
1232009
1232009
(
2013
).
7.
D. M.
Lin
,
P. Y.
Fan
,
E.
Hasman
, and
M. L.
Brongersma
, “
Dielectric gradient metasurface optical elements
,”
Science
345
,
298
302
(
2014
).
8.
A.
Arbabi
,
Y.
Horie
,
M.
Bagheri
, and
A.
Faraon
, “
Dielectric metasurfaces for complete control of phase and polarization with subwavelength spatial resolution and high transmission
,”
Nat. Nanotechnol.
10
,
937
943
(
2015
).
9.
J. P. B.
Mueller
,
N. A.
Rubin
,
R. C.
Devlin
,
B.
Groever
, and
F.
Capasso
, “
Metasurface polarization optics: Independent phase control of arbitrary orthogonal states of polarization
,”
Phys. Rev. Lett.
118
,
113901
(
2017
).
10.
X. F.
Zang
,
F. L.
Dong
,
F. Y.
Yue
,
C. M.
Zhang
,
L. H.
Xu
,
Z. W.
Song
,
M.
Chen
,
P. Y.
Chen
,
G. S.
Buller
,
Y. M.
Zhu
,
S. L.
Zhuang
,
W. G.
Chu
,
S.
Zhang
, and
X. Z.
Chen
, “
Polarization encoded color image embedded in a dielectric metasurface
,”
Adv. Mater.
30
,
1707499
(
2018
).
11.
F. Y.
Yue
,
C. M.
Zhang
,
X. F.
Zang
,
D. D.
Wen
,
B. D.
Gerardot
,
S.
Zhang
, and
X. Z.
Chen
, “
High-resolution grayscale image hidden in a laser beam
,”
Light Sci. Appl.
7
,
17129
(
2018
).
12.
S.
Divitt
,
W. Q.
Zhu
,
C.
Zhang
,
H. J.
Lezec
, and
A.
Agrawal
, “
Ultrafast optical pulse shaping using dielectric metasurfaces
,”
Science
364
,
890
894
(
2019
).
13.
M.
Khorasaninejad
,
W. T.
Chen
,
R. C.
Devlin
,
J.
Oh
,
A. Y.
Zhu
, and
F.
Capasso
, “
Metalenses at visible wavelengths: Diffraction-limited focusing and subwavelength resolution imaging
,”
Science
352
,
1190
1194
(
2016
).
14.
W. T.
Chen
,
A. Y.
Zhu
,
V.
Sanjeev
,
M.
Khorasaninejad
,
Z.
Shi
,
E.
Lee
, and
F.
Capasso
, “
A broadband achromatic metalens for focusing and imaging in the visible
,”
Nat. Nanotechnol.
13
,
220
226
(
2018
).
15.
S. M.
Wang
,
P. C.
Wu
,
V. C.
Su
,
Y. C.
Lai
,
M. K.
Chen
,
H. Y.
Kuo
,
B. H.
Chen
,
Y. H.
Chen
,
T. T.
Huang
,
J. H.
Wang
,
R. M.
Lin
,
C. H.
Kuan
,
T.
Li
,
Z.
Wang
,
S.
Zhu
, and
D. P.
Tsai
, “
A broadband achromatic metalens in the visible
,”
Nat. Nanotechnol.
13
,
227
232
(
2018
).
16.
X. J.
Ni
,
A. V.
Kildishev
, and
V. M.
Shalaev
, “
Metasurface holograms for visible light
,”
Nat. Commun.
4
,
2807
(
2013
).
17.
X.
Li
,
L. W.
Chen
,
Y.
Li
,
X. H.
Zhang
,
M. B.
Pu
,
Z. Y.
Zhao
,
X. L.
Ma
,
Y. Q.
Wang
,
M. H.
Hong
, and
X. G.
Luo
, “
Multicolor 3D meta-holography by broadband plasmonic modulation
,”
Sci. Adv.
2
,
e1601102
(
2016
).
18.
M. B.
Pu
,
X.
Li
,
X. L.
Ma
,
Y. Q.
Wang
,
Z. Y.
Zhao
,
C. T.
Wang
,
C. G.
Hu
,
P.
Gao
,
C.
Huang
,
H. R.
Ren
,
X. P.
Li
,
F.
Qin
,
J.
Yang
,
M.
Gu
,
M. H.
Hong
, and
X. G.
Luo
, “
Catenary optics for achromatic generation of perfect optical angular momentum
,”
Sci. Adv.
1
,
e1500396
(
2015
).
19.
C.
Zhang
,
C.
Pfeiffer
,
T. H.
Jang
,
V.
Ray
,
M.
Junda
,
P.
Uprety
,
N.
Podraza
,
A.
Grbic
, and
L. J.
Guo
, “
Breaking Malus' law: Highly efficient, broadband, and angular robust asymmetric light transmitting metasurface
,”
Laser Photonics Rev.
10
,
791
798
(
2016
).
20.
R. C.
Devlin
,
A.
Ambrosio
,
N. A.
Rubin
,
J. P.
Balthasar Mueller
, and
F.
Capasso
, “
Arbitrary spin-to–orbital angular momentum conversion of light
,”
Science
358
,
896
901
(
2017
).
21.
Q. B.
Fan
,
D. P.
Wang
,
P. C.
Huo
,
Z. J.
Zhang
,
Y. Z.
Liang
, and
T.
Xu
, “
Autofocusing Airy beams generated by all-dielectric metasurface for visible light
,”
Opt. Express
25
,
9285
9294
(
2017
).
22.
M.
Jang
,
Y.
Horie
,
A.
Shibukawa
,
J.
Brake
,
Y.
Liu
,
S. M.
Kamali
,
A.
Arbabi
,
H.
Ruan
,
A.
Faraon
, and
C.
Yang
, “
Wavefront shaping with disorder-engineered metasurfaces
,”
Nat. Photonics
12
,
84
90
(
2018
).
23.
Q. B.
Fan
,
W. Q.
Zhu
,
Y. Z.
Liang
,
P. C.
Huo
,
C.
Zhang
,
A.
Agrawal
,
K.
Huang
,
X. G.
Luo
,
Y. Q.
Lu
,
C. W.
Qiu
,
H. J.
Lezec
, and
T.
Xu
, “
Broadband generation of photonic spin-controlled arbitrary accelerating light beams in the visible
,”
Nano Lett.
19
,
1158
1165
(
2019
).
24.
P.
Schau
,
L. W.
Fu
,
K.
Frenner
,
M.
Schäferling
,
H.
Schweizer
,
H.
Giessen
,
L. M. G.
Venancio
, and
W.
Osten
, “
Polarization scramblers with plasmonic meander-type metamaterials
,”
Opt. Express
20
,
22700
22711
(
2012
).
25.
L.
Fu
,
A.
Berrier
,
H. Y.
Li
,
P.
Schau
,
K.
Frenner
,
M.
Dressel
, and
W.
Osten
, “
Depolarization of a randomly distributed plasmonic meander metasurface characterized by Mueller matrix spectroscopic ellipsometry
,”
Opt. Express
24
,
28056
28064
(
2016
).
26.
R. C.
Devlin
,
M.
Khorasaninejad
,
W. T.
Chen
,
J.
Oh
, and
F.
Capasso
, “
Broadband high-efficiency dielectric metasurfaces for the visible spectrum
,”
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A.
113
,
10473
10478
(
2016
).
You do not currently have access to this content.