Sheldon Zhang, General Photonics Corp.
For nearly 200 years scientists and engineers have worked to exploit the inherent polarization of a light wave for mankind's benefit. From cutting edge research in laser cooling and atomic-transition gravitational wave detection to much that we take for granted today such as displays compact disks, cameras -- regulating the polarization of light has been a crucial part of the game.
Most polarization control techniques have targeted manipulation of light beams in free space. It was only a few decades ago when scientists figured out how to send light signals through optical fibers. When optical fibers are used to carry multigigabits of information per second or to make sensitive measurements, polarization control becomes a challenge.