Reversible lateral optical force on phase-gradient metasurfaces for full control of metavehicles

Tianyue Li, Jack Kingsley-Smith, Yanhui Hu, Xiaohao Xu*, Shaohui Yan, Shuming Wang*, Baoli Yao, Zhenlin Wang, Shining Zhu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
2 Downloads (Pure)


Photonics is currently undergoing an era of miniaturization thanks in part to two-dimensional (2D) optical metasurfaces. Their ability to sculpt and redirect optical momentum can give rise to an optical force, which acts orthogonally to the direction of light propagation. Powered by a single unfocused light beam, these lateral optical forces (LOFs) can be used to drive advanced metavehicles and are controlled via the incident beam’s polarization. However, the full control of a metavehicle on a 2D plane (i.e. forward, backward, left, and right) with a sign-switchable LOF remains a challenge. Here we present a phase-gradient metasurface route for achieving such full control while also increasing efficiency. The proposed metasurface is able to deflect a normally incident plane wave in a traverse direction by modulating the plane wave’s polarization, and results in a sign-switchable recoil LOF. When applied to a metavehicle, this LOF enables a level of motion control that was previously unobtainable.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)255-258
Number of pages4
JournalOptics Letters
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2023


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