Catenary optics for achromatic generation of perfect optical angular momentum

Mingbo Pu, Xiong Li, Xiaoliang Ma, Yanqin Wang, Zeyu Zhao, Changtao Wang, Chenggang Hu, Ping Gao, Cheng Huang, Haoran Ren, Xiangping Li, Fei Qin, Jing Yang, Min Gu, Minghui Hong, Xiangang Luo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

539 Citations (Scopus)
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The catenary is the curve that a free-hanging chain assumes under its own weight, and thought to be a “true mathematical and mechanical form” in architecture by Robert Hooke in the 1670s, with nevertheless no significant phenomena observed in optics. We show that the optical catenary can serve as a unique building block of metasurfaces to produce continuous and linear phase shift covering [0, 2p], a mission that is extremely difficult if not impossible for state-of-the-art technology. Via catenary arrays, planar optical devices are designed and experimentally characterized to generate various kinds of beams carrying orbital angular momentum (OAM). These devices can operate in an ultra-broadband spectrum because the anisotropic modes associated with the spin-orbit interaction are almost independent of the incident light frequency. By combining the optical and topological characteristics, our approach would allow the complete control of photons within a single nanometric layer.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1500396
Number of pages6
JournalScience Advances
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2015
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Copyright 2015 © The Authors, some rights reserved; exclusive licensee American Association for the Advancement of Science. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • metasurface
  • orbital angular momentum
  • nanostructure
  • spin angular momentum
  • geometric phase
  • phase modulation


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