Combining focusing properties of a single diatom valve with optical eigenmodes in ultra-shrinking of light

L. Lavanga, E. De Tommasi, A. C. De Luca, P. Dardano, M. De Stefano, L. De Stefano, I. Rendina, K. Dholakia, M. Mazilu

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


It is known that a properly arranged distribution of nanoholes on a metallic slab is able to produce, in far field conditions, light confinement at sub-diffraction and even sub-wavelength scale. The same effect can also be implemented by the use of Optical Eigenmode (OEi) technique. In this case, a spatial light modulator (SLM) encodes phase and amplitudes of N probe beams whose interference is able to lead to sub-wavelength confinement of light focused by an objective. The OEi technique has been already used in a wide range of applications, such as photoporation, confocal imaging, and coherent control of plasmonic nanoantennas. Here, we describe the application of OEi technique to a single valve of a marine diatom. Diatoms are ubiquitous monocellular algae provided with an external cell wall, the frustule, made of hydrated porous silica which play an active role in efficient light collection and confinement for photosynthesis. Every frustule is made of two valves interconnected by a lateral girdle band. We show that, applying OEi illumination to a single diatom valve, we can achieve unprecedented sub-diffractive focusing for the transmitted light.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISBN (Print)9780819499127
Publication statusPublished - 2014
EventComplex Light and Optical Forces VIII - San Francisco, CA, United States
Duration: 4 Feb 20146 Feb 2014


ConferenceComplex Light and Optical Forces VIII
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Francisco, CA


  • Biophotonics
  • Diatoms
  • Structured illumination
  • Subdiffractive optics


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