Metasurface-enabled broadband beam splitters integrated with quarter-wave plate functionality†
Conventional beam splitters and wave plates, while being essential components in diverse optical systems, require considerable space, especially when used in combination. Here, we designed and experimentally demonstrated metasurface-enabled efficient broadband beam splitters integrated with quarter-wave plate (QWP) functionality for simultaneous power splitting and circular-to-linear polarization conversion in the near-infrared range. By utilizing two different gap-plasmon meta-atoms, which function as QWPs performing efficient circular-to-linear polarization conversion and provide the phase difference of π between reflected linearly polarized beams, we designed a metasurface that completely suppress the specular reflection (zero-order diffraction) and second-order diffraction, while ensuring efficient and equal beam splitting of a circularly polarized wave into two reflected beams with predesigned directions and well-defined linear-polarization states in the wavelength range of 750–950 nm. The fabricated metasurface exhibits excellent performance of circular-to-linear conversion and power splitting, with efficient suppression of specular reflection (<1%) and splitting efficiencies above 50% for both right and left circularly polarized excitation at the design wavelength of λ = 850 nm. By enabling the combined functionalities of a conventional beam splitter and a QWP, our approach opens up new prospects for advanced research and applications targeting photonics integration and miniaturization.