The capability of on-chip wavefront modulation has the potential to revolutionize many optical device technologies. However, the realization of power-efficient phase-gradient metasurfaces that offer full-phase modulation (0 to 2π) and high operation speeds remains elusive. We present an approach to continuously steer light that is based on creating a virtual frequency-gradient metasurface by combining a passive metasurface with an advanced frequency-comb source. Spatiotemporal redirection of light naturally occurs as optical phase-fronts reorient at a speed controlled by the frequency gradient across the virtual metasurface. An experimental realization of laser beam steering with a continuously changing steering angle is demonstrated with a single metasurface over an angle of 25° in just 8 picoseconds. This work can support integrated-on-chip solutions for spatiotemporal optical control, directly affecting emerging applications such as solid-state light detection and ranging (LIDAR), three-dimensional imaging, and augmented or virtual systems.
ASJC Scopus subject areas