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Flat Optics: Components to Systems

27 June 2021 – 01 July 2021 OSA Virtual Event - Eastern Daylight Time (UTC - 04:00)

An emerging approach is to control incident light’s amplitude, phase, polarization etc. by nanostructures rather than bulky glasses. This spurs the nascent field of flat optics and metasurfaces: a multidisciplinary field that links nanophotonics and optical design.

The scope of this topical meeting is to provide a platform for increasing interaction between researchers with nano- or macro-optics expertise for high-end multifunctional optical components.

This topical meeting will begin from the fundamentals, design and simulation to manufacturing, then shift to device and system levels followed by discussions of practical applications. 

Advanced topics on the simulation and design of flat optical devices using inverse design and machine learning will be discussed in a coordinated effort with the Freeform Optics conference.

Other topics that will be discussed are advanced large-scale manufacturing active and tunable devices as well as flat optical devices for long wavelength regions. Emerging applications of flat optical and metasurface components in systems (displays, Lidar, depth sensors, augmented and virtual reality, communications etc.) will also be discussed.


I. Flat Optics and Metasurfaces

  • Metasurface Components from the Ultraviolet to the Near-Infrared
  • Cascaded or Multilayered Metasurfaces
  • Comparison between Metasurface Components and Conventional Diffractive Counterparts

II. Imaging with Flat Optics

  • Computational Imaging
  • Depth Sensing
  • Point Spread Function Engineering
  • Hardware-software Co-design
  • Point-of-care Systems

III. Inverse Design (joint with Freeform Optics)

  • Frontiers in Gradient-based Optimization Methods
  • Theoretical Limits to Flat Optics Performance
  • Multi-scalar and High-speed Solvers for Design
  • Inverse Design with Artificial Intelligence

IV. Mid-infrared Metamaterials and Metasurfaces

  • Conformal Nanostructures
  • Radiative Cooling
  • 2D-material-based Tunable Metasurfaces

V. Active and Tunable Flat Optical Devices

  • Tunable Metasurfaces
  • Reconfigurable Nanostructures
  • Interaction between Nanostructures and Materials with Gain

VI. Advanced Nanofabrication for Flat Optics

  • DUV Lithography
  • Roll-to-roll Nanoimprinting
  • Three Dimensional Nanostructures
  • Multilayered Nanostructures

VII. Metasurface-based Emerging Applications

  • High Capacity Communications
  • Quantum Optics
  • Three-dimensional Displays
  • Lidar
  • Augmented and Virtual Reality
  • Optical Computing
  • High Energy Physics
  • Astronomy



  • Federico Capasso, Harvard University, United StatesChair
  • Wei-Ting Chen, AMS Sensors USA Inc, United StatesChair
  • Paulo Dainese, Corning Research & Development Corp, United StatesChair
  • Jonathan Fan, Stanford University, United StatesChair
  • Byoungho Lee, Seoul National University, Republic Of Korea
  • Xiangang Luo, CAS Institute of Optics and Electronics, China
  • Joseph Mait, Mait-Optik LLC, United States
  • James Pond, Ansys Lumerical Solutions, Inc, Canada
  • Clara Rivero-Baleine, Lockheed Martin Corporation, United States
  • Yakov Soskind, Apple Inc., United States
  • Din Ping Tsai, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong


  • Mark Brongersma, Stanford UniversityUnited States
    Flat Optics for Active Wavefront Manipulation and AR/VR Keynote
  • Andrei Faraon, California Institute of TechnologyUnited States
    Quantitative Phase Gradient Microscopy and Other Imaging Techniques Using Metasurfaces Keynote
  • Amit Agrawal, National Inst of Standards & TechnologyUnited States
    Planar Alignment-free Metasurface Optics for Atom Trapping
  • Kavita Bala, Cornell UniversityUnited States
    Understanding Visual Appearance from Micron to Global Scale
  • Wenshan Cai, Georgia Institute of TechnologyUnited States
    Multifunctional Flat Optics via Machine Learning
  • Robert Devlin, Metalenz IncUnited States
    Commercializing Metasurfaces
  • Yeshaiahu Fainman, University of California San DiegoUnited States
    Nanostructured Elements in Active and Passive Optical Technologies
  • Patrice Genevet, CNRSFrance
    Applications and Integration of Metasurfaces
  • Juejun Hu, Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyUnited States
    Wide Field-of-view Achromatic Metalenses
  • Philippe Lalanne, Institut d'OptiqueFrance
    Nanostructured Gratings to Control Optical Phase, Polarization, and Appearance
  • Daniel Lopez, Pennsylvania State UniversityUnited States
    Nanomechanical Platform for Tunable Mie-resonant Dielectric Metasurfaces
  • Arka Majumdar, University of WashingtonUnited States
    Meta-optical Computational Imaging Systems for Large Aperture, Aberration-free Imaging
  • Francesco Monticone, Cornell UniversityUnited States
    New Frontiers for Metasurfaces: From Ultra-broadband Metalenses to Nonlocal Meta-optics
  • Otto Muskens, University of SouthamptonUnited Kingdom
    Deep Learning Enabled Design of Free-space and Integrated Nanophotonic Devices
  • Daniel Nikolov, University of RochesterUnited States
    Metaform Optical Imager
  • James Pond, Ansys Lumerical Solutions, IncCanada
    Design and Simulation of Metalenses
  • Lora Ramunno, University of OttawaCanada
    Deep Learning for Engineering Optical Scattering from Plasmonic Nanostructures
  • Junsuk Rho, Pohang Univ of Science & TechnologyRepublic Of Korea
    Single-step Manufacturing of Optical Metasurfaces using High-index Nanocomposite
  • Markus Rossi, AMS Technologies AGSwitzerland
    Commercializing Technologies based on Nanostructuring: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
  • Noah Rubin, Harvard UniversityUnited States
    Metasurface Polarization Optics
  • Isabelle Staude, Karlsruher Institut für TechnologieGermany
    Active Semiconductor Metasurfaces Based on Mie-resonances
  • Augustine Urbas, US Air Force Research LaboratoryUnited States
    Characterization of Planar Optical Components and System Analysis
  • Jason Valentine, Vanderbilt UniversityUnited States
    Meta-optics for Image Processing
  • Robert Visser, Applied Materials, Inc.United States
    Materials Engineering Solutions for Commercializing Metasurface-based Optical Components
  • Jun Yang, Corning IncUnited States
    Metasurface for Space Division Multiplexing in Optical Communication
  • Nanfang Yu, Columbia UniversityUnited States
    Resonant, Wavefront-shaping Metasurfaces
  • Lauren Zarzar, Pennsylvania State UniversityUnited States
    Tunable and Responsive Structural Coloration by Total Internal Reflection and Interference at Microscale Concave Interfaces
  • Lei Zhou, Fudan UniversityChina
    Angular Dispersions and Line-shape Tailoring in Plamonic Metasurfaces
  • Todd Zickler, Harvard UniversityUnited States
    Toward Computer Vision on Microwatt Platforms


Plenary Session

James Wyant

University of Arizona

History of Interferometric Optical Testing

This talk will trace the history of the use of interferometry in testing optical components and optical systems. Early interferometers will be discussed, and special emphasis will be given to the enhancements provided by the use of lasers, electronics and computers.

About the Speaker

James C. Wyant is professor emeritus and Founding Dean at the College of Optical Sciences at the University of Arizona, where he was Director (1999-2005), Dean (2005-2012), and a faculty member since 1974. He received a B.S. in physics from Case Western Reserve University and M.S. and Ph.D. in optics from the University of Rochester. He was a founder of the WYKO Corporation and served as its president and board chairman from 1984 to 1997 and he was a founder of the 4D Technology Corporation and served as its board chairman from 2002 to 2018. Wyant is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, the National Academy of Inventors, and a Fellow of OSA and SPIE. He is a former editor-in-chief of the OSA journal Applied Optics and he was the 2010 president of OSA and the 1986 president of SPIE.

Julius Muschaweck

JMO Illumination Optics

Freeform Optics for Illumination and Imaging: Quite a Ride, and Still a Long Way to Go

In the decades since nodal aberration theory, the basis of freeform imaging optics, was found, and the problem of tailoring freeform optics for illumination was first solved for point sources, freeform optics has developed into a semi-mature state: Used in many products, but not fully understood – routinely manufactured, but hard to tolerance. Some key pieces of theoretical understanding, accessible design methods, and reliable yet affordable manufacturing processes still wait to be discovered.

About the Speaker

Julius Muschaweck, a physicist, is the owner and CEO of his company, JMO. After receiving his M.D. from the Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich, Germany in 1989 and a stay as Visiting Scholar at the University of Chicago, he co-founded and ran OEC, a unique combination of optical engineering service and pioneering freeform optics research institute. In 2006, he moved on to OSRAM, where he became Senior Principal Key Expert for Optical Design, and in 2013 joined ARRI, the maker of professional movie cameras and lamp heads, as Principal Optical Scientist. He is Senior Member of OSA, authored over 25 scientific papers and is the inventor of over 50 patents. Throughout his career, his work focuses on applying the theory of thermodynamics of light to everyday problems in illumination optics. Since 2018, he is again a freelance scientist, helping companies to understand and solve their problems in illumination optics, and teaching courses to engineers in industry on how to find good optical designs based on insights from both first principles and practical experience.

Joseph M. Howard

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Current and Future NASA Space Telescopes

Astronomy is arguably in a golden age, where current and future NASA space telescopes are expected to contribute to this rapid growth in understanding of our universe. A summary of our current space assets will be given, as well as an update on the status of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), almost ready for launch. Future telescopes will also be discussed, including the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope (RST), the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA), as well as mission concept studies being prioritized in the 2020 Decadal Survey in Astrophysics.

About the Speaker

Joseph M. Howard received BS in physics from the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, and his Ph.D. in Optical Design from The Institute of Optics, University of Rochester, in Rochester, New York. He now serves as an optical designer for NASA, working on projects including the James Webb Space Telescope, the Roman Space Telescope, LISA, and the other future space missions. Joe lives with his wife, two children, and dog and cat in Washington DC.


Special Events

Crossroads of Freeform and Flat Optics

Reflective, refractive, and diffractive optics each offer unique capabilities for imaging and non-imaging applications.  This symposium focuses on novel opportunities at the intersection of freeform and flat optics, including the co-design of different modalities in optics and new opportunities for inverse design.

This is a joint session for Flat Optics and Freeform. 

Lens Design with Flat Optical and Metasurface Components

New fabrication techniques have been pushing the boundary of available optical components. This joint session between Flat Optics and IODC focuses on a discussion of how novel optical components, including metasurfaces, diffractive surfaces and GRIN, can be applied in lens design for better performance.

This is a joint session for Flat Optics and IODC. 

Best Student Paper Competition: Congratulations to the 2021 Winners and Finalists

Flat Optics: Components to Systems


Yifei Zhang, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, United States (FTu4A.5)
Electrically Reconfigurable Nonvolatile Metasurface based on Phase Change Materials


Cheng Guo, Stanford University, United States (FM4B.4)
Squeeze free space with nonlocal flat optics device

Brian Raeker, University of Michigan, United States (FM3C.2)
Spatial Amplitude and Phase Control with High-Efficiency Meta-optics

Md Saad-Bin-Alam, University of Ottawa, Canada (FM3C.4)
Ultra-High-Q (~2400) Lattice Resonances in Plasmonic Metasurface for Flat Optics

Freeform Optics


ShiLi Wei, Huazhong University of Sci. & Tech., China​ (JTh1A.6)
Design of freeform illumination optics by deconvolving the blur from extended sources


Yuxuan Liu, University of Rochester, United States (RW1A.5)
CubeSat Format Freeform Hyperspectral Imager

Alejandro Madrid Sánchez, Vrije Universiteit Brussels, Belgium (ITh2A.4)
Freeform beam shaping optics design through reproducible ray-mapping and surface optimization

Zhu Zhengbo, Huazhong Univ of Science & Technology, China (Th4A.7)
Freeform illumination design on 3D target surfaces via a virtual irradiance transformation

International Optical Design Conference


Congli Wang, King Abdullah University of Science and TechnologySaudi Arabia (JTh4A.2)
Lens design optimization by back-propagation


Nicholas Kochan, University of Rochester, United States (JTh4A.5)
Evaluating ophthalmic progressive addition lens designs with freeform surfaces and gradient index optics

Zheng Li, Fraunhofer IOSB, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany (ITu2A.6)
Resolution enhancement of low-NA objectives in confocal fluorescence microscopy by diffractive lens arrays

Shohreh Shadalou, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, United States (ITh2A.3)
Tunable LED-based Illuminator Using Freeform Arrays

Optical Fabrication and Testing


Luke DeMars, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, United States (OW3B.2)
Separating and Estimating Impacts of Anisotropic Mid-Spatial Frequency Errors


Joel Berkson, University of Arizona, United States (JTu2B.2)
Fringe Projection Metrology for Thermoformed Millimeter Wave Freeform Optical Elements

Jimin Han, Kyung Hee University, South Korea  (OW2B.7)
Lightweight Aluminum Mirror with Duplex Layers

Vipender Negi, Academy of Scientific and Innovative Research (AcSIR), Council of Scientific and Industrial Research-Central Scientific Instruments Organisation (CSIR-CSIO) Campus, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research-Central Scientific Instruments Organisation (CSIR-CSIO), India (OW2B.2)
Smoothing Effect Analysis for Active Fluid Jet Polishing


Image for keeping the session alive