Transformation photonics & reconfigurability

We are interested in finding and studying general mathematical relations connecting the behavior of different systems across several areas of physics and engineering, with a special focus on photonics. We seek to use such links as a powerful and intuitive route for investigating novel physical concepts, mimicking the behavior of systems with interesting properties through analogies, and designing devices with advanced functionalities.

A paradigmatic example of this approach is transformation optics: a formalism that allows us to find the precise optical medium in which the spatiotemporal distribution of electromagnetic fields is related to that associated with a second medium via a prescribed mapping (e.g., a space warping). This enables the construction of exotic devices, such as invisibility cloaks or optical black holes. Another example is supersymmetry, which offers a unique way for generating partner systems with identical spectra (except perhaps the ground state) and scattering properties, explaining, e.g., the existence of non-trivial reflectionless quantum-mechanical potentials and optical media.

We are concerned with the practical implementation of the aforementioned devices and other light-shaping elements through metamaterials and metasurfaces (artificial materials with designer properties), as well as with the possibility of endowing such devices with reconfigurable capabilities to attain on-demand functionalities (e.g., by using tunable materials). To achieve this, we leverage the unique fabrication and characterization capabilities of our research center.

On the application level, we pursue the exploitation of these ideas to develop next-generation photonic integrated circuits, with application in future high-performance computers, high-speed communications, lab-on-chip devices, and the minaturization of advanced light-manipulation instruments.