Vincent Ginis

Using the belinfante momentum to retrieve the polarization state of light inside waveguides

V Ginis, L Liu, A She, F Capasso
Scientific Reports 9, 14879 (2019)

Current day high speed optical communication systems employ photonic circuits using platforms such as silicon photonics. In these systems, the polarization state of light drifts due to effects such as polarization mode dispersion and nonlinear phenomena generated by photonic circuit building blocks. As the complexity, the number, and the variety of these building blocks grows, the demand increases for an in-situ polarization determination strategy. Here, we show that the transfer of the Belinfante momentum to particles in the evanescent field of waveguides depends in a non-trivial way on the polarization state of light within that waveguide. Surprisingly, we find that the maxima and minima of the lateral force are not produced with circularly polarized light, corresponding to the north and south poles of the Poincaré sphere. Instead, the maxima are shifted along the great circle of the sphere due to the phase differences between the scattered TE and TM components of light. This effect allows for an unambiguous reconstruction of the local polarization state of light inside a waveguide. Importantly, this technique depends on interaction with only the evanescent tails of the fields, allowing for a minimally invasive method to probe the polarization within a photonic chip.