ECE Distinguished Lecture Series with Professor Diederik S. Wiersma

4:00 pm on Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Photonics Building, 8 Saint Mary's Street, Room 906

Trapping the Light Fantastic

With Professor Diederik S. Wiersma

Director, the European Laboratory for Non-Linear Spectroscopy (LENS), University of Florence

Research Director at the National Institute for Optics, CNR, Italy

Faculty Host: Luca Dal Negro

Refreshments will be served outside Room 906 at 3:45 p.m.

Abstract: LÚvy flights determine how animals search for food, how earthquakes are distributed, and how the stock market goes up and down daily. In this talk, Professor Wiersma will explain how one can realize optical materials in which light waves follow LÚvy flights and what new possibilities this offers in photonics.

Disordered photonic materials have surprisingly interesting physical properties and allow us to study the fundamental physics of transport processes. On the other hand, their fascinating optical response leads to unexpected effects, like the efficient trapping of light in thin films. The latter property turns out to be very valuable for improving thin film photo-voltaic solar cells and creating new light sources.

About the Speaker: Born December 25, 1967, in Utrecht, The Netherlands, Professor Diederik S. Wiersma received his master’s degree cum laude and his Ph.D. degree at the University of Amsterdam in 1991 and 1995 respectively. He is director of the European Laboratory for Non-Linear Spectroscopy (LENS) in Florence and research director of the National Institute for the Physics of Matter (INFM-CNR). He also runs a research group consisting of about 15 enthusiastic people working on micro and nano photonics at LENS. He has been responsible for several national and international projects on photonic crystals and random lasers; was deputy coordinator of the European network of excellence on nanophotonics (Phoremost), made up of 34 European laboratories; and is co-founder of the Nanophotonics Europe Association. He currently runs an industrial project on solar energy financed by ENI Italy, is a member of the board of directors of the European Network of Excellence on nanophotonics for energy efficiency, and leads a project to construct a new research line on nanophotonics and fluidics financed by the Italian Institute for Technology.

His research interests lie in the fundamental optical properties of photonic materials; in particular, materials with periodic, random, or quasi-crystalline structure. He has delivered about 80 invited lectures and colloquia and authored many papers on this topic, which include 12 in Nature and Science (including four cover stories) and 20 in Physical Review Letters (average number of citations of all his papers: 30, h-index: 32). He has been the course director of four physics courses at the center, Ettore Majorana (Erice, Italy, 2005-2010); director of the OSA topical meeting on nano- and metamaterials (META, Jacksonhole, USA, 2007); and director of the International School of Physics ‘Enrico Fermi’ (Varenna, Italy, 2009). He received the Ugo Campisano award from the National Institute for the Physics of Matter (INFM) for his work on random lasing in 2004. Currently he is a member of the editorial board of Physical Review A.