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  • Received: Dec. 19, 2012

    Accepted: --

    Posted: Jan. 18, 2019

    Published Online: Jan. 18, 2019

    The Author Email: David A. B. Miller (dabm@ee.stanford.edu)

    DOI: 10.1364/PRJ.1.000001

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    David A. B. Miller. Self-configuring universal linear optical component [Invited][J]. Photonics Research, 2013, 1(1): 01000001

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Photonics Research, Vol. 1, Issue 1, 01000001 (2013)

Self-configuring universal linear optical component [Invited]

David A. B. Miller*

Author Affiliations

  • Ginzton Laboratory, Stanford University, 348 Via Pueblo Mall, Stanford, California 94305-4088, USA (dabm@ee.stanford.edu)

Abstract

We show how to design an optical device that can perform any linear function or coupling between inputs and outputs. This design method is progressive, requiring no global optimization. We also show how the device can configure itself progressively, avoiding design calculations and allowing the device to stabilize itself against drifts in component properties and to continually adjust itself to changing conditions. This self-configuration operates by training with the desired pairs of orthogonal input and output functions, using sets of detectors and local feedback loops to set individual optical elements within the device, with no global feedback or multiparameter optimization required. Simple mappings, such as spatial mode conversions and polarization control, can be implemented using standard planar integrated optics. In the spirit of a universal machine, we show that other linear operations, including frequency and time mappings, as well as nonreciprocal operation, are possible in principle, even if very challenging in practice, thus proving there is at least one constructive design for any conceivable linear optical component; such a universal device can also be self-configuring. This approach is general for linear waves, and could be applied to microwaves, acoustics, and quantum mechanical superpositions.

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