Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Chip-scale atomic diffractive optical elements



Liron Stern, Douglas G. Bopp, Susan A. Schima, Vincent N. Maurice, John E. Kitching


Atomic systems have long provided a useful material platform with unique quantum properties. The efficient light-matter interaction in atomic vapors has led to numerous seminal scientific achievements including accurate and precise metrology1-3 and quantum devices4-7. In the last few decades, the field of thin optical elements8-12 with miniscule features has been extensively studied demonstrating an unprecedented ability to control photonic degrees of freedom, both linearly and non-linearly, with applications spanning from photography and spatial light modulators to cataract surgery implants. Hybridization of atoms with such thin devices may offer a new material system allowing traditional vapor cells with enhanced functionality. Here, we demonstrate chip-scale, quantum diffractive optical elements which map atomic states to the spatial distribution of diffracted light. Two foundational diffractive elements, lamellar gratings and Fresnel lenses, are hybridized with atomic channels containing hot atomic vapors which demonstrate exceptionally strong frequency-dependent behaviors. Providing the design tools for chip-scale atomic diffractive optical elements develops a path for a variety of compact thin quantum-optical elements.
Nature Photonics


Atomic physics, chip-scale atomic devices, Diffractive optics, Thin optical elements


Stern, L. , Bopp, D. , Schima, S. , Maurice, V. and Kitching, J. (2018), Chip-scale atomic diffractive optical elements, Nature Photonics, [online], (Accessed May 19, 2024)


If you have any questions about this publication or are having problems accessing it, please contact

Created December 30, 2018, Updated October 7, 2019