Topological Polarization Singularities in Metaphotonics
Polarization singularities of vectorial electromagnetic fields locate at the positions (such as points, lines, or surfaces) where properties of polarization ellipses are not defined. They are manifested as circular and linear polarization, for which respectively the semi-major axes and normal vectors of polarization ellipses become indefinite. First observed in conical diffraction in the 1830s, the field of polarization singularities has been systematically reshaped and deepened by many
... of wave optics. Together with other exotic phenomena such as non-Hermiticity and topology, polarization singularities have been introduced into the vibrant field of nanophotonics, rendering unprecedented flexibilities for manipulations of light-matter interactions at the nanoscale. Here we review the recent results on the generation and observation of polarization singularities in metaphotonics. We start with the discussion of polarization singularities in the Mie theory, where both electric and magnetic multipoles are explored from perspectives of local and global polarization properties. We then proceed with the discussion of various photonic-crystal structures, for which both near- and far-field patterns manifest diverse polarization singularities characterized by the integer Poincare or more general half-integer Hopf indices (topological charges). Next, we review the most recent studies of conversions from polarization to phase singularities in scalar wave optics, demonstrating how bound states in the continuum can be exploited to generate directly optical vortices of various charges. Throughout our paper, we discuss and highlight several fundamental concepts and demonstrate their close connections and special links to metaphotonics. We believe polarization singularities can provide novel perspectives for light-matter manipulation for both fundamental studies and their practical applications.