Nanophotonics in the Year of Light
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In this webinar, an overview of The Optical Society’s Nanophotonics Technical Group and several exciting nanophotonics research will be presented by the Chair and the Executive Committee members of the group. The webinar will include sequential sessions; descriptions of the individual sessions are as follows.


1. In nanophotonics we create material-systems, which are structured at length-scales smaller than the wavelength of light. When light propagates inside such effective materials numerous novel and exciting physics phenomena emerge including thresholdless lasing, atto-joule per bit efficient modulators, and selective light scattering. However, in order to make use of these opportunities for real-world applications (e.g. optical data links, transparent displays), one has to have the ability to integrate nanophotonic structures into functional devices in a smart way. In this talk, I will present some of the recent theoretical and experimental progress in exploring these opportunities, as well as certain novel physical phenomena that emerge in this process.


2. Photonic nanostructures allow for the realization of new devices with enhanced properties. The interaction of light in the nanoscale is very effective, making photonic devices more efficient and opening new applications. In the talk I will present a near-thresholdless microlaser emitting at room temperature in the near infrared (1300nm) made out of a combination of quantum dots and photonic crystals. The measured performance of the laser gives a very high efficiency of 85%, meaning that 85% of the photons generated in the microlaser are lasing photons, and a threshold power around 860 nW.  This kind of devices paves the way for the future high-efficient operation of microlasers able to save a high amount of driving power.


3. Advancement in nanotechnology has facilitated the generation and perturbation of gradients fields – optical, electric and magnetic – on a level that was previously inaccessible. Gradient fields are widely used for the manipulation of micro- and nanoscale objects. A sharp metallic tip creates strong non-uniform electrical field gradient when coupled with a second electrode - a phenomenon termed as dielectrophoresis (DEP). In this talk, I will present a template stripping nanofabrication technique to produce isolated gold pyramidal tips attached to metallic wires. When coupled with an electrode, the pyramidal tip functions as a three-dimensional DEP trap to manipulate and concentrate carbon nanotubes, for subsequent detection using far-field Raman spectroscopy. Along the lines of potential applications, I will present a RHK shear-force atomic force microscope capable of integrating these nanopyramids.


4. Nano technology helps us in many ways.  One of them is to improve the performance of devices in terms of power dissipation and size.  These two properties are essential for photonic integration.  In this short talk two examples of such improvements will be presented.  One example is ultra-low drive voltage electro-optic modulators using thin compound semiconductor epilayers removed from their growth substrates.  This approach allows for sub-micron and very uniform electrode gaps and demonstrated Mach-Zehnder intensity modulators with 0.2 V V.  Wide bandwidth versions of these devices have 0.77 V V with bandwidth exceeding 67 GHz.  The other example is ring resonators utilizing conventional optical waveguides, total internal reflection mirrors and sub-micron deeply etched beam splitters.  These devices have free spectral range of 14.5 nm and 10 dB extinction ratio tuning with less than 2 mA of current.


5. Using nano-scale structures to tailor light-guiding properties of integrated photonic devices opens new opportunities to extend the parameter space of conventional optical components and enable unprecedented system performance. In this talk, I will present some recent advances in dispersion engineering of integrated waveguides based on a nano-scale slot structure. This enables us to produce an extremely flat and low dispersion over a spectral band of one octave, facilitating ultra-broadband phase matching for nonlinear applications. Octave-spanning on-chip light sources, such as super-continuum generation and frequency comb generation, are expected. This dispersion approach is also shown to be widely applicable to various materials and wavelength ranges.


6. One of the exciting opportunities in manipulating light is the use of nanostructures. In this short talk, I will present an overview of our work on high-index contrast nanostructures to control light at deep-subwavelength scales in photonic devices. As a specific example, I focus on waveguide array devices. I start by describing experimental work on the creation of ultra-compact photonic devices for highly-integrated optoelectronic systems based on aperiodic nanoslit arrays. Next, I formulate a numerical approach for designing large-scale waveguide arrays that perform ideal waveguide lensing. Finally, I highlight the unusual optical capabilities of nano-scale metal-dielectric-metal waveguide arrays, including deep-subwavelength focusing and imaging. I hope this illustrates the rich set of opportunities for nano-scale optics research at the interface between fundamental physics and applied photonic device design.


What You Will Learn/Seminar Objectives


  • Overview of The Optical Society’s Nanophtonics Technical Group – what they do, and how you can involve.
  • Highlights of exciting research examples from the world of nanophotonics


Who Should Attend


  • Graduate students interested in the field of nanophotonics, material science, scanning probe microscopy, plasmonics
  • Undergraduates with an interest in nanotechnology and nanoscience
  • Optics and photonics company representatives such as R&D affiliated personnel
  • STEM educators with an aspiration for nanotechnology and optics



The level of the webinar is intermediate. The basic concepts will be explained. However, a minimum knowledge of Optics, Nanophotonics, and Spectroscopy is assumed.


Seminar Information
Seminar Date:
March 16, 2015