Generating free-space structured light with programmable integrated photonics

Bütow J, Eismann JS, Sharma V, Brandmüller D, Banzer P (2024)

Publication Type: Journal article

Publication year: 2024


DOI: 10.1038/s41566-023-01354-2


Structured light is a key component of many modern applications, ranging from super-resolution microscopy to imaging, sensing and quantum information processing. As the utilization of these powerful tools continues to spread, the demand for technologies that enable the spatial manipulation of fundamental properties of light, such as amplitude, phase and polarization grows further. The rapidly advancing field of reconfigurable integrated photonics allows entirely new routes towards beam shaping that not only outperform existing devices in terms of speed but also have substantial potential with respect to their footprints, robustness and conversion efficiencies. In this study, we demonstrate how a multipurpose programmable integrated photonic processor can generate and control a wide range of higher-order free-space structured light beams, all starting from only a single injection waveguide. Our method controls the distribution of light’s amplitude and phase within sub-milliseconds, and it is fully reconfigurable and has no moving parts. These advancements broaden the spectrum of potential methods, applications and devices that utilize spatially tailored light by providing a pathway to combine the strengths and versatility of integrated photonics and free-space structured light.

Involved external institutions

How to cite


Bütow, J., Eismann, J.S., Sharma, V., Brandmüller, D., & Banzer, P. (2024). Generating free-space structured light with programmable integrated photonics. Nature Photonics.


Bütow, Johannes, et al. "Generating free-space structured light with programmable integrated photonics." Nature Photonics (2024).

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