Generation of switchable singular beams with dynamic metasurfaces

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Ping Yu
  • Jianxiong Li
  • Xin Li
  • Gisela Schütz
  • Michael Hirscher
  • Na Liu

Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems, Heisenbergstrasse 3, 70569 Stuttgart, Germany
  • Beijing Engineering Research Center for Mixed Reality and Advanced Display, School of Optoelectronics, Beijing Institute of Technology, South Zhongguancun Street 5, 100081 Beijing, China
  • Kirchhoff Institute for Physics, University of Heidelberg, Im Neuenheimer Feld 227, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany


Singular beams have attracted great attention due to their optical properties and broad applications from light manipulation to optical communications. However, there has been a lack of practical schemes with which to achieve switchable singular beams with sub-wavelength resolution using ultrathin and flat optical devices. In this work, we demonstrate the generation of switchable vector and vortex beams utilizing dynamic metasurfaces at visible frequencies. The dynamic functionality of the metasurface pixels is enabled by the utilization of magnesium nanorods, which possess plasmonic reconfigurability upon hydrogenation and dehydrogenation. We show that switchable vector beams of different polarization states and switchable vortex beams of different topological charges can be implemented through simple hydrogenation and dehydrogenation of the same metasurfaces. Furthermore, we demonstrate a two-cascade metasurface scheme for holographic pattern switching, taking inspiration from orbital angular momentum-shift keying. Our work provides an additional degree of freedom to develop high-security optical elements for anti-counterfeiting applications.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7100-7106
Number of pages7
JournalACS Nano
Issue number6
Early online date14 May 2019
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jun 2019


  • metasurfaces, dynamic functionalities, vector beams, vortex beams, optical communications