A full degree-of-freedom spatiotemporal light modulator

Christopher L. Panuski*, Ian Christen, Momchil Minkov, Cole J. Brabec, Sivan Trajtenberg-Mills, Alexander D. Griffiths, Jonathan J.D. McKendry, Gerald L. Leake, Daniel J. Coleman, Cung Tran, Jeffrey St Louis, John Mucci, Cameron Horvath, Jocelyn N. Westwood-Bachman, Stefan F. Preble, Martin D. Dawson, Michael J. Strain, Michael L. Fanto, Dirk R. Englund*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Harnessing the full complexity of optical fields requires the complete control of all degrees of freedom within a region of space and time—an open goal for present-day spatial light modulators, active metasurfaces and optical phased arrays. Here, we resolve this challenge with a programmable photonic crystal cavity array enabled by four key advances: (1) near-unity vertical coupling to high-finesse microcavities through inverse design; (2) scalable fabrication by optimized 300 mm full-wafer processing; (3) picometre-precision resonance alignment using automated, closed-loop ‘holographic trimming’; and (4) out-of-plane cavity control via a high-speed μLED array. Combining each, we demonstrate the near-complete spatiotemporal control of a 64 resonator, two-dimensional spatial light modulator with nanosecond- and femtojoule-order switching. Simultaneously operating wavelength-scale modes near the space–bandwidth and time–bandwidth limits, this work opens a new regime of programmability at the fundamental limits of multimode optical control.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)834-842
Number of pages9
JournalNature Photonics
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2022
Externally publishedYes


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