Princeton University

School of Engineering & Applied Science

Molding the Flow of Light Using Metasurfaces and Metamaterials

Gennady Shvets, University of Texas at Austin
Engineering Quadrangle, B205
Monday, December 7, 2015 - 4:30pm to 5:30pm

Metamaterials are artificial electromagnetic materials exhibiting unusual optical responses that are difficult to elicit from naturally-occurring media. Those include negative refractive index, strong magneto-electric response, and strong concentration of optical energy. Metamaterials and their two-dimensional implementations (metasurfaces) represent a remarkably versatile platform for light manipulation, biological and chemical sensing, and nonlinear optics. Many of these applications rely on the resonant nature of metamaterials, which is the basis for extreme spectrally selective concentration of optical energy in the near field. In addition, metamaterial-based optical devices lend themselves to considerable miniaturization because of their sub-wavelength features. I will review the history of optical metamaterials, which is now fifteen years in the making, and review some of the more recent trends in metamaterials research and applications using the examples of my group’s work. Those include (i) the development of “active” (i.e. rapidly tunable and reconfigurable) metasurfaces functionalized with single-layer graphene, (ii) applications of metamaterials to chemical and biological sensing of proteins and cellular membranes, and (iii) the development of the so-called photonic topological insulators that emulate the eponymous electronic materials by using bianisotropic (also known as chiral or magneto-electric) metamaterials.   Recent experimental results covering a wide swath of the electromagnetic spectrum (from microwaves to infrared light) will be presented.