Chip-scale atomic diffractive optical elements

Stern Liron*, Douglas G. Bopp, Susan A. Schima, Vincent N. Maurice, John E. Kitching

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


The efficient light–matter interaction and discrete level structure of atomic vapors made possible numerous seminal scientific achievements including time-keeping, extreme non-linear interactions, and strong coupling to electric and magnetic fields in quantum sensors. As such, atomic systems can be regarded as a highly resourceful quantum material platform. Recently, the field of thin optical elements with miniscule features has been extensively studied demonstrating an unprecedented ability to control photonic degrees of freedom. Hybridization of atoms with such thin optical devices may offer a material system enhancing the functionality of traditional vapor cells. Here, we demonstrate chip-scale, quantum diffractive optical elements which map atomic states to the spatial distribution of diffracted light. Two foundational diffractive elements, lamellar gratings and Fresnel lenses, are hybridized with atomic vapors demonstrating exceptionally strong frequency-dependent, non-linear and magneto-optic behaviors. Providing the design tools for chip-scale atomic diffractive optical elements develops a path for compact thin quantum-optical elements.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number3156
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, This is a U.S. government work and not under copyright protection in the U.S.; foreign copyright protection may apply.


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