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Journal Article

Arbitrary optical wave evolution with Fourier transforms and phase masks

MPS-Authors

Lopéz-Pastor,  Victor
Marquardt Division, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light, Max Planck Society;

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Marquardt,  Florian
Marquardt Division, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Lopéz-Pastor, V., Lundeen, J. S., & Marquardt, F. (2021). Arbitrary optical wave evolution with Fourier transforms and phase masks. Optics Express, 29(23). doi:10.1364/OE.432787.


Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0005-5EFD-6
Abstract
A large number of applications in classical and quantum photonics require the capability of implementing arbitrary linear unitary transformations on a set of optical modes. In a seminal work by Reck et al. it was shown how to build such multiport universal interferometers with a mesh of beam splitters and phase shifters, and this design became the basis for most experimental implementations in the last decades. However, the design of Reck et al. is difficult to scale up to a large number of modes, which would be required for many applications. Here we present a constructive proof that it is possible to realize a multiport universal interferometer on N modes with a succession of 6N Fourier transforms and 6N+1 phase masks, for any even integer N. Furthermore, we provide an algorithm to find the correct succesion of Fourier transforms and phase masks to realize a given arbitrary unitary transformation. Since Fourier transforms and phase masks are routinely implemented in several optical setups and they do not suffer from the scalability issues associated with building extensive meshes of beam splitters, we believe that our design can be useful for many applications in photonics.