Photonics with Structured Light for Applications in Communication and Nano-technologies
The Inception of laser in the 60s started an incredible scientific and technological revolution which has led to numerous fundamental scientific discoveries and their practical implementations. In particular it has led to establishment of an entirely new discipline of Photonics, i.e. science of generation, control, transmission and detection of light. Photonics provides many new applications. They include among others, high speed, high capacity optical communication channels and systems so critical for processing and directing enormous amount of data generated by internet revolution, solar energy harvesting or laser material processing â starting from simple mass production of touch-sensitive mobile phone screens and precision cutting of semiconductor wafers and ending with sophisticated submicron structures and surface engineering for application in sensing. Until very recently the fundamental Gaussian-type laser beams have been predominantly used in science and technology. In this project we extend the traditional approach to photonics by focusing on the structured light. We propose cutting edge research program to study theoretically and experimentally formation and application of optical beams and pulses with nontrivial spatial and temporal structures. This, so called structured light involves among others singular beams with phase defects and nonuniform distribution of phase and polarization as well as short laser pulses with temporally modulated spectrum. In our work we will expand our understanding of fundamental properties of structured light, principles of their generation, stability. Furthermore, we will describe theoretically and demonstrate experimentally the role of light structuring in light-matter interaction, including generation of novel frequencies in visible and terahertz regimes, wave-front engineering, material processing (ablation, pattern formation) and optical trapping. The project will lead to novel concepts and approaches which will advance state-of-the art and may lead to innovative technologies for application in material processing, energy harvesting, biology and communication technologies. The project is designed to take 3 years and will have a total budget of $599,588.