Research objectives and content (28 regels)
The purpose of this research is to study colloidal suspensions as a means of making "photonic crystals", a class of artificially generated materials with novel optical properties. Photonic crystals are three-dimensional (3D) periodic composites of different dielectric materials, with lattice parameters of the order of the wavelength of light. This causes a strong interaction between the light and the crystal, which can result in exciting physical properties such as optical band gaps, suppression of spontaneous emission or localization of light. Therefore, this field of research is receiving increasing international attention This research is a truly interdisciplinary study, bridging the fields of solid state physics, optical spectroscopy, physical chemistry, and quantum optics. Moreover, this work contains not only fundamental, but also applied aspects, because photonic band gaps are expected to play an innovating role in telecommunication or computing.
Surprisingly, experiments on 3D photonic crystals in the optical regime have been scarce. An essential type of' experiments that will be performed on the photonic crystals is the investigation of the optical band structures by transmission and reflectivity measurements, including backscatter cones. Knowledge of the band structures is fundamental to the' understanding of physical processes such as diffraction, scattering, and spontaneous emission inhibition. Time resolved and non-linear experiments will be performed to obtain information about pulse propagation through photonic crystals. An important aspect of the work proposed is the growth of high-quality colloidal crystals. These will be characterized with optical techniques such as light scattering and microscopy, and with small angle X-ray and neutron scattering at international large-scale facilities, e.g. ESRF and ILL in Grenoble, France and at SRS in Daresbury, UK.
The Amsterdam group is world-leading in the field of multiple scattering of light in mesoscopic systems. The group is also a pioneer in optical experiments on 3D photonic crystals, by using of state of the art colloidal systems that are synthesized in collaboration with the reknown colloid chemistry group from the University of Utrecht. A large expertise and infrastructure are present to successfully perform optical experiments and detailed theoretical interpretation. Moreover. there is ample experience concerning the use of large scale international facilities. In conclusion, a wide range of possibilities are available for the applicant to perform exciting state of the art physical research in a scientific group that is committed to excellence.
Training content (objective, benefit and expected impact) (9 regels) The goal of the training of the applicant is to write a thesis in physics, in partial fulfillment of the requirements for a Ph. D. from the UvA. The applicant will take courses in advanced topics at the Research School on Condensed Matter and Optical Physics (COMOP), which is an association of the van der Waals-Zeeman Instituut of the UvA with the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, and the Rijkuniversiteit Leiden. As part of his training, the applicant will supervise undergraduate students in their research work. Thus, the applicant will receive a thorough training in modern aspects of physics, problem solving, writing papers, oral presentations, planning, and supervision, with which he should be well equipped for a successful professional career. Finally, this project is expected to strengtheninternational scientific exchanges between Spain and the Netherlands. Links with industry / industrial relevance (22) (6 regels)
Photonic crystals in the optical regime are expected to be key materials for 1. threshholdless lasers, and 2. highly efficient LEDs, both of which are critical to telecommunication and computing industries. The field of optical multiple scattering plays an important role in medical imaging. Finally, colloidal crystals have already been marketed as optical band pass filters by EG&G.