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Metasurfaces enable miniaturized optical pulse shaper

Material dispersion accumulated in optical setups tends to heavily distort and chirp ultra-short laser pulses which can be especially disadvantageous in nonlinear optical applications or pump-probe experiments.

Typically, pulse compressors consisting of a prism or grating pair are used to partially compensate for the dispersion and reshape the laser pulses to become short again. However, these pulse compressors are limited to correcting only second-order dispersion and are unsuitable for space-limited applications.

In our recent publication ‘Compact metasurface-based optical pulse-shaping device’ published in Nano Letters, we show that multiple metasurfaces on a single glass substrate can be used, to alter the dispersion of ultra-short laser pulses allowing for integration on on-chip devices. To achieve this, we used two parallel mirrors on both sides of a substrate to allow successive interaction of incident laser pulses with two metasurfaces (see the schematic figure).

We verify, that prior applied dispersion can be compensated with our device by properly designing the local phase of the facilitated metasurfaces and even show a more complex pulse shaping operation by generating a double pulse with 200 fs temporal separation. Depending on the design, the device offers high flexibility, as it can operate in reflection or transmission and with more than two metasurfaces.


Thomas Zentgraf

Prof. Dr. Thomas Zentgraf

Transregional Collaborative Research Centre 142


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