Optical magnetic lens: towards actively tunable terahertz optics†
As we read this text, our eyes dynamically adjust the focal length to keep the image in focus on the retina. Similarly, in many optics applications the focal length must be dynamically tunable. In the quest for compactness and tunability, flat lenses based on metasurfaces were introduced. However, their dynamic tunability is still limited because their functionality mostly relies upon fixed geometry. In contrast, we put forward an original concept of a tunable Optical Magnetic Lens (OML) that focuses photon beams using a subwavelength-thin layer of a magneto-optical material in a non-uniform magnetic field. We applied the OML concept to a wide range of materials and found out that the effect of OML is present in a broad frequency range from microwaves to visible light. For terahertz light, OML can allow 50% relative tunability of the focal length on the picosecond time scale, which is of practical interest for ultrafast shaping of electron beams in microscopy. The OML based on magneto-optical natural bulk and 2D materials may find broad use in technologies such as 3D optical microscopy and acceleration of charged particle beams by THz beams.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Recent Open Access Articles