Light-matter interaction in nanophotonic waveguides is enhanced by tightly confining and slowing down light. However, both these strategies have had their own limitations. Firstly, the spatial confinement has traditionally been thought to be bound at the diffraction limit and more recently limited by nanofabrication resolution. Secondly, backscattering due to unavoidable structural disorder has limited progress in the field of slow light. TOPEX will overcome these limitations by merging two recent developments in photonics: topological protection against disorder and extreme subwavelength confinement of light. Based on theoretical predictions of the applicant and cutting-edge nanotechnology only at experimental reach at the host institution, TOPEX will design, build, measure, and explore topological slow-light nanophotonic waveguides exhibiting extreme dielectric photon confinement. The project is motivated in part by the urgent need for enhancing light-matter interaction in order to reduce the energy consumption of information technologies and in part by the fundamental quest towards understanding how slow and small a photon can be. It represents an extraordinary training opportunity on complementary scientific and soft skills for the applicant and has transformational impact potential on photonic integrated devices, optical data processing, quantum technologies, and beyond.
Fields of science
- HORIZON.1.2 - Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) Main Programme