A corner cube retroreflector (CCR) consists of three perpendicular flat surfaces and reflects the incident light back to its source. Optical properties of CCR arrays have applications in free space optical communication, low power wireless networks and sensing applications. Conventional top-down CCR array fabrication is complex and requires expensive equipment and limited to broadband reflection only. Here, we utilize laser assisted copying of a CCR array to a light sensitive holography polymer film (∼10 μm) which was placed parallel to the object plane (CCR array) during the recording. Optical characterization of the recorded CCR array hologram was carried out using reflection and color-selective diffraction measurements. Angle dependent optical properties were also simulated computationally followed by their experimental realization, which confirm our experimental findings. In a broadband illumination setting, a broadband white light reflection and a narrowband color diffraction were observed. A linear relationship between the incidence angle of the broadband light and the diffraction angle of the diffracted color light was observed. Bright and well-defined 2nd order far-field diffraction patterns were observed using an image-screen experiment. Maximum diffraction efficiency (DE) of ∼50% was observed for the monochromatic green light at normal illumination setting. The far-field diffraction interspacing/intensity exhibits increasing/decreasing trend with illumination tilt angles, measured between 10 to 50 degrees. The recorded CCR array holograms offer potential applications in color selective diffraction optics and customized optical devices.
Optical diffusers are widely used in filament lamps, imaging systems, display technologies, lasers, and Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs). Here, a method for the fabrication of optical diffusers through femtosecond laser machining is demonstrated. Float glass surfaces were ablated with femtosecond laser light to form nanoscale ripples with dimensions comparable to the wavelength of visible light. These structures produce highly efficient and wide field of view diffusers. The machined patterns altered the average surface roughness, with the majority of particles in the range of a few hundred nanometers. The optical diffusion characteristic and a maximum diffusion angle of near 172° was achieved with optimum machining parameters. The transmission performance of the diffusers was measured to be ∼30% across the visible spectrum. The demonstrated technique has potential for producing low-cost large area optical devices. The process benefits from the flexibility of the laser writing method and enables the production of custom optical diffusers.
A graphene-based metamaterial lens is theoretically proposed by combining plasmonic nanoribbons with Fresnel Zone Plate (FZP) architecture to realize wavelength-selective and tunable lensing. The plasmonic FZP lens shows higher focal intensity and efficiency compared to conventional FZP. As compared with normal graphene FZP, the lensing effect of the plasmonic FZP can be enhanced by 83 times. When compared with Au thin film based FZP lenses, the graphene plasmonic lenses can achieve comparable lensing effects, but with a thinner geometry and with an additional advantage of being wavelength selective and tuneable. The analyses of selectivity and tunability of the plasmonic lens show that the plasmonic lens functions as a filter with broadband incident light or as a switch which can be turned on and off via changing the Fermi levels. The diffraction between neighboring graphene nanoribbons and the effect of the substrate on the lensing effect is also discussed. The plasmonic effect of the nanoribbons only contributes to the focal intensity without affecting the diffraction properties of Fresnel zone plate lenses such as focal lengths. This plasmonic FZP lens is an ideal combination of near and far field optics. However, the complex interaction of diffractions within and between the FZP rings could lead to a significant change of the lensing effect, which opens the possibility of creating innovative graphene metamaterial devices. The findings in this work can be used for developing wavelength-selective electro-optical applications operating in the infrared and terahertz ranges.
High-quality optical glass diffusers have applications in aerospace, displays, imaging systems, medical devices, and optical sensors. The development of rapid and accurate fabrication techniques is highly desirable for their production. Here, a micropatterning method for the fast fabrication of optical diffusers by means of nanosecond pulsed laser ablation is demonstrated (λ=1064 nm, power=7.02, 9.36 and 11.7 W and scanning speed=200 and 800 mm s-1). The experiments were carried out by point-to-point texturing of a glass surface in spiral shape. The laser machining parameters, the number of pulses and their power had significant effect on surface features. The optical characteristics of the diffusers were characterized at different scattering angles. The features of the microscale structures influenced average roughness from 0.8 μm to 1.97 μm. The glass diffusers scattered light at angles up to 20° and their transmission efficiency were measured up to ∼97% across the visible spectrum. The produced optical devices diffuse light less but do so with less scattering and energy losses as compared to opal diffusing glass. The presented fabrication method can be applied to any other transparent material to create optical diffusers. It is anticipated that the optical diffusers presented in this work will have applications in the production of LED spotlights and imaging devices.
Flexible imprinted photonic nanostructures that are able to diffract/focus narrow-band light have potential applications in optical lenses, filters, tunable lasers, displays, and biosensing. Nanophotonic structures through holography and roll-to-roll printing may reduce fabrication complexities and expenses and enable mass production. Here, 3D photonic nanostructures of a stacked ring array were imprinted on acrylate polymer (AP) over poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET) substrate through holography and lift-off processes to create a microlens array (MLA). The surface structure of the array consisted of circular nonostepped pyramids, and repeated patterns were in hexagonal arrangements. Stacked-ring-based MLA (SMLA) on a flexible AP–PET substrate showed efficient bidirectional light focusing and maximum numerical aperture (NA = 0.60) with a reasonable filling factor. The nanostructures produced a well-ordered hexagonally focused diffraction pattern in the far field, and power intensities were measured through angle-resolved experiments. The variation of nanostep dimensions (width and height) and the number of steps resulted in different photonic bandgaps, and the arrays produced distance-dependent narrow-band light focusing. The validation of the SMLA was demonstrated through the text, image, and hologram projection experiments. It is anticipated that imprinted bidirectional SMLA over flexible substrates may find applications in optical systems, displays, and portable sensors.
Monitoring of environmental contamination, including oil pollution, is important to protect marine ecosystems. A wide range of sensors are used in the petroleum industry to measure various parameters, such as viscosity, pressure, and flow. Here, we create an optical lattice mesh structure that can be used as an oil sensor integrated with optical fiber probing. The principle of operation of the sensor was based on light scattering, where the tested medium acted as a diffuser. Three different mesh-patterned structures were analyzed by optical imaging, light transmission, and scattering in the presence of supercut, diesel, and stroke oil types. The meshes were used as a medium for different types of oils, and the optical diffusion and transmission were studied in the visible spectrum. Angle-resolved measurements were carried out to characterize the light scattering behavior from the mesh structures. Different types of oils were identified on the basis of the optical behavior of the lattice structure. The fabricated mesh structures can be used as a low-cost measurement device in oil sensing.
Hydrogel optical fibers are utilized for continuous glucose sensing in real time. The hydrogel fibers consist of poly(acrylamide-co-poly(ethylene glycol) diacrylate) cores functionalized with phenylboronic acid. The complexation of the phenylboronic acid and cis-diol groups of glucose enables reversible changes of the hydrogel fiber diameter. The analyses of light propagation loss allow for quantitative glucose measurements within the physiological range.
The analysis of tear constituents at point-of-care settings has a potential for early diagnosis of ocular disorders such as dry eye disease, low-cost screening, and surveillance of at-risk subjects. However, current minimally-invasive rapid tear analysis systems for point-of-care settings have been limited to assessment of osmolarity or inflammatory markers and cannot differentiate between dry eye subclassifications. Here, we demonstrate a portable microfluidic system that allows quantitative analysis of electrolytes in the tear fluid that is suited for point-of-care settings. The microfluidic system consists of a capillary tube for sample collection, a reservoir for sample dilution, and a paper-based microfluidic device for electrolyte analysis. The sensing regions are functionalized with fluorescent crown ethers, o-acetanisidide, and seminaphtorhodafluor that are sensitive to mono- and divalent electrolytes, and their fluorescence outputs are measured with a smartphone readout device. The measured sensitivity values of Na+, K+, Ca2+ ions and pH in artificial tear fluid were matched with the known ion concentrations within the physiological range. The microfluidic system was tested with samples having different ionic concentrations, demonstrating the feasibility for the detection of early-stage dry eye, differential diagnosis of dry eye sub-types, and their severity staging.
Advances in holography have led to applications including data storage, displays, security labels, and colorimetric sensors. However, existing top-down approaches for the fabrication of holographic devices are complex, expensive, and expertise dependent, limiting their use in practical applications. Here, ink-based holographic devices have been created for a wide range of applications in diffraction optics. A single pulse of a 3.5 ns Nd:YAG laser allowed selective ablation of ink to nanofabricate planar optical devices. The practicality of this method is demonstrated by fabricating ink-based diffraction gratings, 2D holographic patterns, optical diffusers, and Fresnel zone plate (FZP) lenses by using the ink. The fabrication processes were rationally designed using predictive computational modeling and the devices were fabricated within a few minutes demonstrating amenability for large scale printable optics through industrial manufacturing. It is anticipated that ink will be a promising diffraction optical material for the rapid printing of low-cost planar nanophotonic devices.
The emergence of new gene-editing technologies is profoundly transforming human therapeutics, agriculture, and industrial biotechnology. Advances in clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) have created a fertile environment for mass-scale manufacturing of cost-effective products ranging from basic research to translational medicine. In our analyses, we evaluated the patent landscape of gene-editing technologies and found that in comparison to earlier gene-editing techniques, CRISPR has gained significant traction and this has established dominance. Although most of the gene-editing technologies originated from the industry, CRISPR has been pioneered by academic research institutions. The spinout of CRISPR biotechnology companies from academic institutions demonstrates a shift in entrepreneurship strategies that were previously led by the industry. These academic institutions, and their subsequent companies, are competing to generate comprehensive intellectual property portfolios to rapidly commercialize CRISPR products. Our analysis shows that the emergence of CRISPR has resulted in a fivefold increase in genome-editing bioenterprise investment over the last year. This entrepreneurial movement has spurred a global biotechnology revolution in the realization of novel gene-editing technologies. This global shift in bioenterprise will continue to grow as the demand for personalized medicine, genetically modified crops and environmentally sustainable biofuels increases. However, the monopolization of intellectual property, negative public perception of genetic engineering and ambiguous regulatory policies may limit the growth of these market segments.
The development of highly-sensitive miniaturized sensors that allow real-time quantification of analytes is highly desirable in medical diagnostics, veterinary testing, food safety, and environmental monitoring. Photonic Crystal Fiber Surface Plasmon Resonance (PCF SPR) has emerged as a highly-sensitive portable sensing technology for testing chemical and biological analytes. PCF SPR sensing combines the advantages of PCF technology and plasmonics to accurately control the evanescent field and light propagation properties in single or multimode configurations. This review discusses fundamentals and fabrication of fiber optic technologies incorporating plasmonic coatings to rationally design, optimize and construct PCF SPR sensors as compared to conventional SPR sensing. PCF SPR sensors with selective metal coatings of fibers, silver nanowires, slotted patterns, and D-shaped structures for internal and external microfluidic flows are reviewed. This review also includes potential applications of PCF SPR sensors, identifies perceived limitations, challenges to scaling up, and provides future directions for their commercial realization.
The development of accurate and rapid techniques to produce nanophotonic structures is essential in data storage, sensors, and spectroscopy. Existing bottom-up and top-down approaches to fabricate nanophotonic devices are high cost and time consuming, limiting their mass manufacturing and practical applications. Here, we demonstrate a strategy to rapidly create 25–40 nm thick 1/2D Au–Ti nanopatterns using holographic direct laser interference patterning (DLIP). Pulses of an Nd:YAG laser (1064 nm) in holographic Denisyuk reflection mode were used to create ablative interference fringes. The constructive interference antinode regions of the standing wave selectively ablated a Au–Ti layer in localized regions to controllably form nanogratings. Varying the laser exposure parameters allowed for rapid patterning of 2D square and rectangular arrays within seconds. Controlling the distances between the laser source, recording medium, and the object, allowed for achieving a 2D spatial grating periodicity of 640 nm × 640 nm. Diffracted and transmitted light spectra of 2D nanostructure arrays were analyzed using angle-resolved measurements and spectroscopy.
Devitrite is normally an unwanted crystalline impurity in the soda-lime-silica glass making process. Thin needles formed by heterogeneous nucleation of devitrite on the glass surface provide unique birefringence properties for potential applications in tunable optical devices. Here, devitrite and a liquid crystal are combined to create an electrically variable optical diffuser. The magnitude and scattering angle of the transmitted light propagating through the diffuser are tuned by varying the voltage between the graphene and indium tin oxide electrodes on either side of the liquid crystal. The threshold voltage to switch the transmitted light from a predominantly horizontal diffusion to a random order is 3.5 V. Angle-resolved measurements show broad diffusion angles of transmitted light with a maximum deflection of ±60°. The dynamically tunable devitrite-liquid crystal hybrid devices may advance the development of currently less viable technologies including beam shaping and automatic light transmission control.
A core-clad fiber made of elastic, tough hydrogels is highly stretchable while guiding light. Fluorescent dyes are easily doped into the hydrogel fiber by diffusion. When stretched, the transmission spectrum of the fiber is altered, enabling the strain to be measured and also its location.
Emerging technologies allow for novel classes of interactive wearable devices that can be worn directly on skin, nails and hair. This one-day workshop explores, discusses and envisions the future of these on-skin technologies. The workshop addresses three important themes: aesthetic design to investigate the combination of interactive technology with personalized fashion elements and beauty products, expressive and multi-modal interactions for mobile scenarios, and technical function, including novel fabrication methods, technologies and their applications. The goal of this workshop is to bring together researchers and practitioners from diverse disciplines to rethink the boundaries of technology on the body and to generate an agenda for future research and technology.
The development of nanostructures that can be reversibly arranged and assembled into 3D patterns may enable optical tunability. However, current dynamic recording materials such as photorefractive polymers cannot be used to store information permanently while also retaining configurability. Here, we describe the synthesis and optimization of a silvernanoparticle doped poly(2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate-co-methacrylic acid) recording medium for reversibly recording 3D holograms. We theoretically and experimentally demonstrate organizing nanoparticles into 3D assemblies in the recording medium using optical forces produced by the gradients of standing waves. The nanoparticles in the recording medium are organized by multiple nanosecond laser pulses to produce reconfigurable slanted multilayer structures. We demonstrate the capability of producing rewritable optical elements such as multilayer Bragg diffraction gratings, 1D photonic crystals, and 3D multiplexed optical gratings. We also show that 3D virtual holograms can be reversibly recorded. This recording strategy may have applications in reconfigurable optical elements, data storage devices, and dynamic holographic displays.
A refractive index (RI) based corrosion sensor that could measure the oxidation of iron metal to iron-oxide was numerically investigated with a finite element method. The sensor is based on an optical microring resonator with periodically arranged iron nanodisks (NDs) in a ring waveguide (WG). The microring resonator showed a linear resonance frequency shift as iron was oxidized due to RI variation and back scattered light, as compared to conditions with no ND ring. The resonance wavelength shift depended on the number of NDs and the spacing between the NDs. Free spectral range and sensor sensitivity were 40 nm and 517 nm RIU−1 with 10 NDs with 50 nm spacing. Optimization of the sensor parameters allowed a two-fold improvement in sensitivity and achieved a quality factor of 188. The sensitivity and Q-factor showed a linear relationship with increasing ND numbers and spacing. The microring resonator based optical corrosion sensor will find applications in real-time, label-free corrosion quantification.