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Parallel Polarization Illumination with a Multifocal Axicon Metalens for Improved Polarization Imaging

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journal contribution
posted on 28.06.2020, 12:54 by Chen Chen, Yiqun Wang, Minwei Jiang, Jian Wang, Jian Guan, Baoshun Zhang, Lei Wang, Jie Lin, Peng Jin
Polarization imaging is an important branch of the microscopy technique that can provide additional information and enhanced contrast. The illumination system of a polarization microscope enables many different polarizations but makes the setup bulky, complicated, and slow. Here, we design and fabricate an ultrathin planar axicon metalens that also enables parallel illumination with different polarizations. Our results reveal a diffraction-limited size and high degree of linear polarization. To verify our approach, we accurately map the polarization angle of an aluminum grating, which is used as a polarizer. Furthermore, we demonstrate that elliptical polarization can be generated without additional design. A single metalens has the same capabilities as a conventional illumination module containing a polarizer, compensator, and rotation-stage/optical modulator. In addition, our device has the potential to enable rapid super-resolution polarization imaging. The new method could be useful in many applications and areas, including, e.g., materials research and biomedicine.