• Advanced Photonics Nexus
  • Vol. , Issue , ()
Barré Nicolas, Shivaraman Ravi, Moser Simon, Salter P.S., Schmidt Michael, Booth M.J., Jesacher Alexander
Author Affiliations
  • Friedrich-Alexander-Universitat Erlangen-Nurnberg
  • University of Oxford
  • Medical University of Innsbruck
  • Friedrich Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg Erlangen Graduate School of Advanced Optical Technologies
  • show less


    Light plays the central role in many applications. The key to unlocking its versatility lies in shaping it into the most appropriate form for the task at hand. Specifically tailored refractive index modifications, directly manufactured inside glass using a short pulsed laser, enable an almost arbitrary control of the light flow. However, the stringent requirements for quantitative knowledge of these modifications, as well as for fabrication precision, have so far prevented the fabrication of light-efficient aperiodic photonic volume elements (APVEs). Here we present a powerful approach to the design and manufacturing of light-efficient APVEs. We optimize application-specific 3D arrangements of hundred thousands of microscopic voxels and manufacture them using femtosecond direct laser writing inside millimeter-sized glass volumes. We experimentally achieve unprecedented diffraction efficiencies up to 80\%, which is enabled by precise voxel characterization and adaptive optics during fabrication. We demonstrate APVEs with various functionalities, including a spatial mode converter and combined intensity shaping and wavelength-multiplexing. Our elements can be freely designed and are efficient, compact and robust. Our approach is not limited to borosilicate glass, but is potentially extendable to other substrates, including birefringent and nonlinear materials, giving a preview of even broader functionalities including polarization modulation and dynamic elements.
    Manuscript Accepted: Feb. 6, 2023
    Posted: Mar. 16, 2023
    DOI: APN