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Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Photonics Research

Overview

Photonics is the science and technology of generating, controlling, and detecting light. This broad research area includes passive optical components, optoelectronics, lasers, and spectroscopy. Using photons instead of electrons to carry information opens the door to faster and more efficient data transfer.

Photonic crystals are one subset of photonic structures that belong to an emerging field of study motivated by the rapid advance of nanoscience and technology. Photonic crystals possess a photonic band gap, or range of wavelengths for which light is forbidden from propagating. This band gap for photons is analogous to a semiconductor's band gap for electrons. Engineering of the dielectric function of materials provides an effective method of creating photonic band gaps and manipulating light propagation in photonic crystal devices. For example, light can bend around 90 degree corners, light can be localized and trapped in specific areas, and light can be made to perfectly reflect off surfaces from any incident angle. Common applications include optical switches, filters, waveguides, superprisms, lasers, and biosensors.

Topics

  • Design, fabrication, and characterization of optically resonant structures including photonic crystals
  • Investigation and optimization of materials properties for photonic applications including optical switching and biosensing

Faculty