Fractals are ubiquitous in nature, and prominent examples include snowflakes and neurons. Although it has long been known that intricate optical fractal patterns can be realized with components such as gratings and reflecting spheres, generating fractal transverse modes from a laser has proven to be elusive. By introducing a 2D network of microspheres into a Fabry-Pérot cavity bounding a gain medium, we demonstrate a hybrid optical resonator in which the spheres enable the simultaneous generation of arrays of conventional (Gaussian) and fractal laser modes. Within the interstices of the microsphere crystal, several distinct fractal modes are observed, two of which resemble the Sierpinski Triangle. Coupling between adjacent fractal modes is evident, and fractal modes may be synthesized through design of the microsphere network. Owing to a unique synergy between the gain medium and the resonator, this optical platform is able to emit hundreds of microlaser beams and probe live motile cells.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)