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OPTICAL PROGRAMABLE ASSEMBLY OF NANOMATERIALS

Project description

Reconfigurable assembly of nanostructures using laser pulses

Arrangements of nanostructures in well-defined patterns are the basis of photonic crystals and metamaterials. The EU-funded OPAN project expands on the success of a recently developed method of using laser pulses to displace nanostructures inside a solid medium. During this process, the standing waves can assemble complex patterns in a reversible fashion. The project will model the optical, mechanical and thermal properties of materials to identify the optimal conditions required for the low-energy assembly of complex nanostructured architectures. The project will set the stage for the fabrication of low-cost composites for photonic crystals for programmable lasers and metamaterials for active waveplates. The proposed assembly mechanism will also enable the development of a new class of 'robotic materials' with unprecedented functionalities.

Objective

Recently, I have pioneered the development of a technique of light-induced reconfigurable nanostructured materials. This process consists of the displacement of the nanostructures inside a solid host medium with the action of light. When an incident light beam interacts with the nanostructures, a photon momentum transfer takes place. This momentum serves to displace/rotate the nanostructures inside the medium. During the writing process, the standing waves can assemble complex patterns in a reversible fashion. My research plan includes both the theoretical and experimental aspects of this light-induced self-assembly phenomenon.
Theoretical developments will provide an insight into the effect that standing light waves have on embedded nanoscale objects. It is necessary to model the optical, mechanical and thermal characteristics of materials to identify the optimal conditions for low energy assembly of complex nanostructured architectures. Experimentally, I aim to demonstrate the assembly of a metamaterial consisting of crystal nanostructures through standing waves of both, linearly and circularly polarized light. This device will function as an active wave plate that can rotate the polarization of incident light. Subsequently, I will fabricate and demonstrate a tunable laser device by arranging nanoparticles into photonic crystal-like structures. Standing waves will be employed to record multilayer assemblies that will act as resonant cavities. The addition of a fluorescent organic dye, quantum dot or perovskite nanocrystal dispersed into the multilayer structure will provide the necessary conditions to induce stimulated emission to produce laser light.
This project will set the ground for the fabrication of low-cost composites for photonic crystals for programable lasers and metamaterials for active wave plates. It is envisioned that this assembly mechanism will also permit the development of a new class of ‘robotic material’ with unprecedented functionalities.

Coordinator

THE CHANCELLOR, MASTERS AND SCHOLARS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD
Net EU contribution
€ 212 933,76
Address
WELLINGTON SQUARE UNIVERSITY OFFICES
OX1 2JD Oxford
United Kingdom

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Region
South East (England) Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Oxfordshire
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Links
Total cost
€ 212 933,76