The light, and sound, fantastic: optics at the nanoscale

ECE Seminar: The light, and sound, fantastic: optics at the nanoscale

Starts at: November 1, 2012 4:30 PM

Ends at: 5:30 PM

Location: Pittsburgh Campus: Scaife Auditorium (Room 125), Silicon Valley campus: Rm 118, Building 23

Speaker: (CANCELLED) Oskar Painter

Affiliation: Caltech

Refreshments provided: Yes

Link to Abstract


Note: This seminar has been cancelled

Seminar details:
- Thurs. Nov 1st, 4:30-5:30pm EST, Pittsburgh Campus: Scaife Auditorium (Room 125), Refreshments at 4pm. 
- Silicon Valley campus: Rm 118, Building 23 at 1:30 PST

Speaker: Oskar Painter, Thomas J. Watson, Sr., Laboratory of Applied Physics, California Institute of Technology 

Title: The light, and sound, fantastic: optics at the nanoscale

  • Abstract: It has long been recognized that micro- and nano-scale patterning of dielectric materials yields spectacular optical properties, including forbidden frequency bands of propagation and anomalous refraction of light. Beyond linear optics, structured dielectric materials allow simultaneously for the large light intensities and precise spatial patterns necessary for a variety of nonlinear optical effects not easily (or possibly in some cases) achieved in bulk materials. With the steady advancement of nanofabrication tools and techniques it has now become possible to create patterned materials with a quality that enables nonlinearities at the single photon level to be manifest. In this talk I will discuss several examples of this phenomena, both in structured dielectric materials with bulk optical nonlinearities, and in materials in which the optical nonlinearity is itself a consequence of the structuring of the material. An example of the latter case is that of an "optomechanical crystal" in which optical and acoustic waves are both strongly diffracted by the material patterning, and in which radiation pressure couples the two forms of waves. I will present recent experiments in which optomechanical crystal structures exhibit optical properties such as slow light via electromagnetically induced transparency and coherent Raman-like wavelength conversion. I will conclude by considering several applications of these new crystal structures that we are exploring at Caltech, including precision sensors and microwave-over-optical communications, followed by a discussion of what I see as future opportunities for nanoscale optics just now appearing on the horizon.

Bio: Oskar Painter received his B.S.E.E. from the University of British Columbia in 1994, his Masters Degree of Science from the California Institute of Technology in 1995, and his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the California Institute of Technology in 2001. In 2000 he helped found Xponent Photonics, an optical start-up company developing surface-mount photonics for telecom and data networking applications. In 2002 he returned to the California Institute of Technology, where he is currently a Professor of Applied Physics, Executive Officer of the Department of Applied Physics and Materials Science, and co-Director of the Kavli Nanosciences Institute.

Dr. Painter's general research interests lie in studying new and interesting ways in which light behaves within micro- and nano-scale dielectric and metallic structures. Specific areas of research include semiconductor cavity QED, integrated microphotonics, surface-plasmon physics and devices, and most recently cavity optomechanics and mechanics in the quantum regime.