Fast electrical switching of orbital angular momentum modes using ultra-compact integrated vortex emitters

Michael J. Strain, Xinlun Cai, Jianwei Wang, Jiangbo Zhu, David B. Phillips, Lifeng Chen, Martin Lopez-Garcia, Jeremy L. O'Brien, Mark G. Thompson, Marc Sorel, Siyuan Yu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

94 Citations (Scopus)
190 Downloads (Pure)


The ability to rapidly switch between orbital angular momentum modes of light has important implications for future classical and quantum systems. In general, orbital angular momentum beams are generated using free-space bulk optical components where the fastest reconfiguration of such systems is around a millisecond using spatial light modulators. In this work, an extremely compact optical vortex emitter is demonstrated with the ability to actively tune between different orbital angular momentum modes. The emitter is tuned using a single electrically contacted thermo-optical control, maintaining device simplicity and micron scale footprint. On-off keying and orbital angular momentum mode switching are achieved at rates of 10 μs and 20 μs respectively.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4856
Number of pages7
JournalNature Communications
Early online date17 Sep 2014
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 17 Sep 2014



  • Physical sciences
  • optical physics
  • applied physics
  • nanotechnology

Cite this