Prof. Luca Dal Negro Receives NSF Career Award

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Luca Dal Negro
Prof. Luca Dal Negro

ECE Professor Luca Dal Negro received a National Science Foundation CAREER Award in support of his project Combined Light and Carrier Localization in High-refractive Index Silicon Nanocrystal Structures: a Novel Approach for Si-based Lasers. The grant is awarded to junior university faculty “who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations.” Professor Dal Negro is the 14th ECE faculty member to receive this award.

Project Summary:

This Faculty Early Career Development project aims to advance nanophotonics by developing a new class of light emitting devices exploiting aperiodic media.

Intellectual Merit:
This Faculty Early Career Development project aims to advance nanophotonics by developing a new class of light emitting devices that leverage Anderson light localization in deterministic aperiodic media for enhancing radiative transitions in silicon nanostructures. Differently from conventional photonic crystals approaches, the proposed research allows broadband engineering of density of states fluctuations, radiation patterns and localized fields in photonic-plasmonic nanostructures, enabling unprecedented control and enhancement of radiative processes on the nanoscale. The active material will consist of Er ions embedded in Si nitride superlattice structures. This material provides efficient excitation of Er resulting in 1.54ìm emission, which will couple with localized modes in aperiodic metal-dielectric arrays. This project explores for first time Anderson light localization in the context of on-chip light emission, and will result in the demonstration of photonic-plasmonic light-emitters susceptible of optical and electrical excitation.

Broader impact:
The successful demonstration of Si-based emitters and lasers will extend the reach of optical technologies into diverse fields, enabling low-cost applications of integrated optics in communication, processing, interconnects and optical biosensing. The establishment of this program at Boston University will contribute to a substantial education and outreach plan with the development of new courses for graduate (Nanophotonics) and undergraduate students (Science of Light), international symposia and short courses on Nanophotonics open to the general public and freely accessible online. These initiatives, combined with the largely interdisciplinary character of the proposed effort, will attract many young scientists to the exploding new fields of nanophotonics, plasmonics and light-localization in complex media.