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2015: Small dielectric spheres with high refractive index serve as new multifunctional elements for optical devices

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Dr. Michael Tribelsky (Faculty of Physics, Lomonosov Moscow State Univ.) in cooperation with his colleagues from the Institut Fresnel (France) and the Univ. of Cantabria (Spain) discovered a possibility of using dielectric spheres with a high refractive index as multifunctional elements of optical devices.

The future of ultra-fast optical communication systems is inevitably connected with progress in optical circuits and nanoantennas. One of the key points of this progress is the creation of elementary components of optical devices with scattering diagrams tailored for redirecting the incident light in a desired manner.

In this study it is shown theoretically and experimentally that a small, simple, spatially homogeneous dielectric subwavelength sphere with a high refractive index and low losses (as some semiconductors in the visible or near infrared region) exhibits properties allowing to utilize it as a new multifunctional element for the mentioned devices. This can be achieved by taking advantage of the coherent effects between dipolar and multipolar modes, which produce anomalous scattering effects.

The effects open a new way to control the directionality of the scattered light. The directional tuning can be obtained in a practical way just by a change in the frequency of the incident wave, and/or by a well-chosen diameter of the sphere. Dielectric nanoparticles with the required optical properties in the VIS-NIR may be now readily fabricated. These particles could be an efficient alternative to the widely discussed scattering units with a more complicated design.

The results of this study were published in the article: Michael I. Tribelsky, Jean-Michel Geffrin, Amelie Litman, Christelle Eyraud, and Fernando Moreno, Small Dielectric Spheres with High Refractive Index as New Multifunctional Elements for Optical Devices. Sci. Rep. 5, 12288 (2015).