In photonics, understanding how light transmits through structures and being able to control that flow is a top research priority. Breakthroughs in this area have the potential to improve how information is carried through light, create antennas that are more highly direct, and more.
Professor Diederik S. Wiersma, the director of the European Laboratory for Non-Linear Spectroscopy (LENS) at the University of Florence and research director at the National Institute of Optics, believes that if light were to follow Lévy flights, new doors could be opened in photonics.
“Light that follows a disordered path has the potential to create new possibilities for light sources and information transport,” he said.
On November 29, Wiersma spoke about his work at Boston University as part of the Fall 2011 Distinguished Lecture Series, which brings groundbreaking engineers to the university.
Additionally, Wiersma and his research team have looked at how Anderson localization – the absence of wave diffusion in a disordered medium – can be used to make light waves more concentrated.
“Using the Anderson method, we also have the potential to make solar cells more efficient,” he said.
Trapping light while keeping it useful and intact is the goal. According to Wiersma, catching light waves in 2-D can already be done pretty easily, but the challenge comes in figuring our how to trap light in a 3-D photonic structure. He and his research group are working hard to find a way to minimize reflection and keep the photons moving within semiconductors.
This was the last talk in the Fall 2011 Distinguished Lecture Series. Please see our Distinguished Lectures page for a list of Spring 2012 talks.
-Rachel Harrington (email@example.com)