EE Colloquium: Active nanophotonics: From graphene-integrated plasmonic metasurfaces and metagates to photon-accelerating semiconductor nanostructures

Abstract:Plasmonic metasurfaces enhance light-matter interaction by focusing light into extremely subwavelength dimensions. These carefully designed structures have been used in extremely thin optical component which can mold the wavefront, with exciting applications in optical lenses, beam steering, and biosensing applications. Adding dynamic tunability to these devices opens up the possibility fornew application in single pixel detection and 3D imaging as well as optical modulators and switches. In this talk, I will concentrate on the experiments and modeling of plasmonic and semiconductor metasurfaces that rely on free carriers for controlling their optical responses. The possibilities for light control using free carriers are particularly tantalizing in the infrared part of the spectrum.

I will discuss two types of such active nanophotonic structures. The first type is plasmonic metasurfaces integrated with graphene. I will describe our recent experimental results demonstrating rapid amplitude and phase modulation of mid-infrared light, as well as our new theoretical proposals for developing reconfigurable topological devices that can route light around sharp turns and interfaces. Experimental demonstrations of novel ultra-fast polarimeters and other polarization-generating devices will also be discussed. The second type of active nanophotonic structures are the Photon-Accelerating Semiconductor Infrared Metasurfaces (PASIM) that can be used to control light propagation through self-consistent generation of electron-hole pairs. Our recent experimental and theoretical results reveal that such metasurfaces can trap and frequency-shift light via the process of photon acceleration. The implications of photon acceleration to overcoming fundamental tradeoffs in nonlinear optics will be discussed. 

Biography: Gennady Shvets is a Professor of Applied and Engineering Physics at Cornell University. He received his PhD in Physics from MIT in 1995. Previously he has held research positions at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory and the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. Before moving to Cornell in 2016, he was on the physics faculty of the University of Texas at Austin for 12 years. His research interests include nanophotonics, optical and microwave metamaterials and their applications (including bio-sensing, optoelectronic devices, and vacuum electronics), topological concepts in photonics, and ultra-intense laser-matter interactions. He is the author or co-author of more than 180 papers in refereed journals, including Science, Nature Physics, Nature Materials, Nature Photonics, Physical Review Letters, and Nano Letters. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS) and Optical Society of America (OSA). 

Professor Shvets is one of the pioneers in the emerging field of plasmonic metamaterials, especially in the infrared part of the spectrum. His most recent work deals with the applications of metamaterials and plasmonics to infrared light generation and harvesting, concentrated solar energy and thermo-photovoltaic systems, biosensing and molecular fingerprinting of proteins and live cells using metamaterial arrays, optical imaging with sub-diffraction resolution using nanoparticle labels, photonic topological insulators, graphene-based metamaterials, and electron beam-driven metamaterials. His group developed some of the pioneering concepts in the emerging field of ultra-fast nanophotonics, including ultrafast amplitude/phase modulation and polarimetry using graphene-integrated metasurfaces, as well as broadband harmonics generation using time-dependent dielectric metamaterials. His group’s interest in the mid-infrared portion of the spectrum is driven by a variety of practical applications that include optical communications and vibrational spectroscopy.

Prof. Shvets one of the co-inventors of the field of photonic topological metamaterials. He and his group developed several key concepts in topological photonics, including the emulation of quantum spin-Hall and quantum valley-Hall topological isolators, reflections-free guiding of photonic edge states around sharp bends, “perfect” refraction, and electron-beam driven topological metamaterials. His group implemented a variety of topological structures in the microwave frequency range. More recently, he became interested in active topological structures based on 2D materials, such as graphene, whose properties can be controlled using electric gating.

His other principal interest is in the field of biophotonics. He is particularly interested in the integration of plasmonic metamaterials and metasurfaces with various applications-specific platforms such as microfluidics and optical fibers. His group is exploring the nano-bio interface between plasmonic structures and living cells, tissues, and bacterial colonies. The ultimate goal is to develop a label-free rapid spectroscopic technique that will differentiate between different cells types, both ex vivo and, eventually, in vivo.


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Media Contact: Shengxi Huang



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