Photonic devices for polarization and wavefront structuring and sensing

Group Leader: Bruno Piccirillo


We are interested in studying dielectric and morphologic properties of materials by exploiting polarization and wavefront analyses in the Visible and Infrared domain. At fundamental level, this entails in-depth investigation of the mechanisms underpinning the optical spin and orbital angular momentum transfer between light and matter. 

The research activities within this line mainly include: 

  1. methods and devices for both wavefront and polarization shaping;
  2. activity i. is powered by designing and fabricating tailored liquid-crystal-based Spatially Varying Axis Plates (SVAPs) based on Pancharatnam-Berry or Geometric Phase optical elements; well-known

examples include q-plates (azimuthal waveplates with a topological singularity at their center), L-plates, polarization-switchable lenses, Modulated Poincaré Beam (MPB) generators and so on;

iii. methods and devices for wavefront sensing based on geometric phase, such as Geometric Phase Shearing Interferometry (GPSI) in several geometries: linear shearing, based on either 𝜦-plates (prism-like plates) or cylindrical lenses; radial shearing, based on either 𝜸-Plates (axicon-like) or spherical lenes, just to mention a few;

  1. activities i, ii, iii serve to measure bulk inhomogeneities of both isotropic and anisotropic materials as well as morphological properties (local curvature, edges, etc.) and roughness of boundary surfaces;
  2. activity iii underpins methods and devices for detecting and measuring the spin and orbital angular momentum of light or the optical topological charge, for applications to optical information and communications.



Geometric-phase waveplates for free-form dark hollow beams
B. Piccirillo, E Piedipalumbo, E. Santamato, Frontiers in Physics 8, 94 (2020) [Link]

Electrically tunable vector vortex coronagraphs based on liquid-crystal geometric phase waveplates
B. Piccirillo, E. Piedipalumbo, L. Marrucci, E. Santamato, Molecular Crystals and Liquid Crystals 684, 15-23 (2019) [Link]

Shearing interferometry via geometric phase
L. A. Alemán-Castaneda, B. Piccirillo, E. Santamato, L. Marrucci, M. Alonso, Optica 6, 396-399 (2019) [Link] [PDF] (Supplementary information)

Q-plate technology: a progress review
A. Rubano, F. Cardano, B. Piccirillo, L. Marrucci, Journal of the Optical Society of America B 36, D70 (2019) [Link] [PDF]

Monstar polarization singularities with elliptically-symmetric q-plates
B. A. Cvarch, B. Khajavi, J. A. Jones, B. Piccirillo, L. Marrucci, E. J. Galvez, Optics Express 25, 14935-14943 (2017)  [Link] [PDF]

Flat polarization-controlled cylindrical lens based on the Pancharatnam-Berry geometric phase
B. Piccirillo, M. Florinda Picardi, L. Marrucci, E. Santamato, Eur. J. Phys. 38, 034007 (2017) [Link] [PDF]