The project aims to introduce new ways to control photons, elementary particles of light, similar to ways we control electrons with semiconductor diodes and transistors. Nonreciprocal control of light underpins several vital evolving technologies, including information and communications technologies. Expected outcomes include demonstrations of world-first nanoscale nonreciprocal photonic components.
We live in an information-driven society. Our exponentially growing data exchange has well-surpassed a zetta-byte per year, that’s a number with 21 zeros. The revolution in information and communications technologies started from miniaturisation of nonreciprocal electronics, semiconductor diodes and transistors. The pathway to cope with the increasing demand for data transfer is to replace electronics with photonics. We are progressing through this transition by first replacing copper wires transmitting electrons with optical fibres transmitting photons in communication networks, then photonics replaces electronics inside devices, their integrated circuits, and ultimately microchips. This creates an increasing demand for miniaturisation of photonic elements, with nonreciprocal components being among the most challenging. The dominant pathway to nonreciprocity relies on magneto-electric materials and strong magnets that are incompatible with nanotechnology. Another approach uses time-modulated systems that cannot be foreseen nanoscaled with existing technology.
Nonreciprocal photonics today is bulky.
A conceptually different pathway is required to bring nonreciprocal optics to the nanoscale, and I recently made a preliminary demonstration (Kruk et al., Nature Nanotechnology 2019 acknowledged with 2019 IUPAP Young Scientist Award). To take nonreciprocal components to the nanoscale, I propose to merge fields of nonlinear and topological photonics and I seek for an opportunity to build up on the gained momentum and to establish a dedicated research in this direction.
Call for proposal
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