Penn engineers develop first tunable, chip-based ‘vortex microlaser’ and detector

To break through a looming bandwidth bottleneck, engineers are exploring some of light’s harder-to-control properties. Now, two studies from the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Engineering and Applied Science have shown a system that can manipulate and detect one such property: orbital angular momentum. Critically, they are the first to do so on small semiconductor chips and with enough precision that it can be used as a medium for transmitting information.