University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Semiconductor Physics Group Seminars > Metamaterial based devices for imaging, sensing and biological applications in the terahertz frequency range

Metamaterial based devices for imaging, sensing and biological applications in the terahertz frequency range

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The terahertz frequency range (vacuum wavelength between 30 mm and 300 mm) is particularly appealing in many demanding sectors, namely scientific imaging, biology, spectroscopy, communications and sensing. Despite the impressive progress achieved recently by mid–infrared and terahertz solid-state sources in terms of performance, and the impressive progress of time-domain spectroscopic systems, in terms of costs, compactness and bandwidth, the lack of suitable optoelectronic devices, both passive and active, has so far hindered technology in this spectral region from reaching its full scientific potential. Metamaterials are normally engineered as planar, artificial sub-wavelength metallic structures on a dielectric substrate, which are designed to have a resonant electro-magnetic response to incident light which is determined mainly by their size and shape. They are therefore the ideal candidates to compensate for the poor response of materials at these frequencies. They can be implemented in various architectures and are normally realized in a variety of configurations, from split ring resonators (SRRs), to bow-tie and other resonant antenna designs. Furthermore, the sub-wavelength confinement offered by these plasmonic elements allows the achievement of unprecedented optical mode concentration, which has obvious advantages in device miniaturization, sensing efficiency, or more in general, in light-matter interactions. I will first introduce the research lines which are more pertinent to this proposal, and then focus my attention on the future implementation of metamaterials for imaging, sensing and biological applications in the terahertz range.

Bio: I obtained the Master’s in Physics from the University of Florence in April 2001. I was then a PhD candidate and teaching assistant in the department of Physics of the Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETHZ), from March 2002 to April 2007, in the Nonlinear Optics Group led by Prof. P G ünter. I received the PhD in natural sciences (PhD thesis ETH 17145 : “Optical waveguides in BaB2O4 for second harmonic generation and electro-optic modulation in the deep UV”) in August 2007, having Prof. P. Günter and Prof. M. Sigrist as advisors. I then held a post-doc position until May 2012 in the optoelectronics group of Prof. A. Tredicucci in Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa, Italy. The main focus of my scientific activity concerned the investigation of mid-infrared intersubband polaritons and the realization of a terahertz near-field microscope. I am currently a research associate in the Semiconductor Physics (SP) group of the Cavendish Laboratory, having been in the post since June 2012, and I am working in the terahertz group. I am involved in developing novel terahertz waveguides and quantum cascade lasers, engineering both the quantum designs and the photonic cavities. In parallel, I have established a new research line centered on metamaterial-based devices for terahertz modulation and sensing.

This talk is part of the Semiconductor Physics Group Seminars series.

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