Shaoliang Yu proposed the innovative idea of integrating 3D micro-scale freeform surfaces onto the 2D photonic chips for on-chip wavefront shaping. It breaks through the bottleneck of restricted light field manipulation capability limited by the missing dimensionality of traditional on-chip 2D periodic structures.
Yu’s research work expanded the spatial dimension of on-chip photonic structures and released the degrees of freedom for chip level light field manipulation, leading to a new class of universal interfacing architecture for photonic chips. He realized an ultra-broadband low-loss photonic interconnect solution and demonstrated an on-chip optical tweezer.
Yu invented a new class of interconnect solutions for the photonic chip based on the aforementioned 3D micro-scale freeform surface idea. The measured insertion loss of the freeform coupler is as low as 0.5 dB, and the optical bandwidth is larger than 300 nm across O, E, S, C, L, and U telecom bands.
The new optical interface he demonstrated can achieve an ultra-low insertion loss, and also boost the optical bandwidth by an order of magnitude, both of which represent the world records for surface-normal couplers operating for the optical communication industry (0.5dB vs. 3dB, 40nm vs. 300nm).
The coupling solution can be used as a general-purpose photonic chip interface solution with strong universality and is ready for a variety of optical interconnection scenarios. It can be used for efficient fiber-to-chip coupling, as well for hybrid integration of different photonic chips.
It is also ready for building the opto-electronic co-packaging architecture to solve the bandwidth and power consumption challenges in information transmission and data processing. The practical impact of the technology is evidenced by the significant interest Yu’s team has received from industry and academia alike.
Yu also proposed and demonstrated a novel on-chip optical tweezer system. The 3D gradient optical field was realized by shaping the wavefront of the waveguide emitted field via on the chip freeform optics, thus generating a 3D gradient optical force and forming an optical force potential well. For the first time, he demonstrated the true levitation of single and multiple micro particles and measured the weak force with sensitivity up to 10^-12 N on a photonic chip.