High-performance optical beam steering with nanophotonics Academic Article uri icon


  • Abstract The ability to control and steer optical beams is critical for emerging technologies. Among these are light detection and ranging (LiDAR), laser display, free space communication, and single pixel imaging. Improvements in these areas promise enhanced 3D data collection capabilities, orders of magnitude increase in wireless data rate, less expensive cameras, and ever more immersive virtual/augmented reality (VR/AR) consumer electronics. Bulk mechanical or liquid crystal devices are conventionally utilized platforms that achieve optical beam steering, but they are bulky and limited in speed and reliability. Instead, chip-scale photonic platforms offer faster and more elegant mechanisms to manipulate light, capable of minimizing device size, weight, and power. Additionally, a critical device metric is its far field resolution, which influences fine feature detection in imaging applications, laser display quality, and signal power and fidelity of free space communication links. Strong light matter interaction achieved with nanophotonic approaches generally makes devices smaller and more efficient, yet ultimately these effects must be scaled to suitable aperture sizes to maintain good resolution. Recent years have seen rapid development in these performance characteristics, spurred by research on active metasurfaces, slow light waveguides, and waveguide phased arrays, with different architectures encountering unique tradeoffs between device complexity, resolution, and speed, in attempting to achieve groundbreaking values for all three. We review these diverse emerging nanophotonic approaches that aspire to achieve high-performance optical beam steering.

published proceedings

  • Nanophotonics

author list (cited authors)

  • Lin, S., Chen, Y., & Wong, Z. J.

publication date

  • January 1, 2022 11:11 AM