Scientists at the Dutch research institute AMOLF have developed and fabricated a 3D nanophotonic lens in collaboration with the Western University in Canada and the City University of New York in the USA. Using a Photonic Professional System from Nanoscribe, the researchers printed an extremely small lens on top of a gallium arsenide nanowire, which is only 80 nm thick and acts as a light emitter. This way, the combination of nanolens and nanowire enables focused light emission, compared to an almost uniform emission of the nanowire itself.
Highly direction-sensitive nanoscale emitters and sensors offer potential in many fields of application. This is also the case for optical quantum computers as well as solar cells with nanoscale structured areas or surfaces. However, the enhancement of directivity on nanoscale devices is a major technical challenge. In this work, researchers applied an evolutionary algorithm to design a complex 3D geometry with sub-wavelength features down to nearly 200 nm. This 3D design utilizes nanoscale interference effects to achieve a high directivity.
More details on the nanolens in AMOLF’s press info: Directivity to improve optical devices
Open-access publication in Nature Communications journal, including the data for printing the nanolenses