Scheme: University Research Fellowship
Organisation: University of Southampton
Dates: Oct 2012-Sep 2015
Summary: The proposed research represents a collaborative, multidisciplinary project combining physics, materials science, device design, sensing technology, chemistry, optics, and life science to investigate physical phenomena and potential applications of light confinement in optical fibre nanowires.
In the last year I have obtained extremely interesting results on the light confinement in 2D and 3D using optical fibre nanowires and nanowire tips. In this project I propose to study in depth these novel structures and exploit them for devices and applications.
This project is broadly divided in two areas: the first part relates to the scientific investigation of light matter interaction in extreme light confinement, while the second section concerns the development of novel devices which exploits the tight confinement.
The first part involves the study of physical processes connected to light confinement in small volumes and its interaction with quantum dots, plasmons lasing media to give hybrid laser systems. The possibility to confine light within volumes smaller than 1um3 should give the possibility to demonstrate physical phenomena until now not observed because of the unavailability of adequate confinement devices.
The second part deals with the technological development of devices based on optical fibre nanowires. A wide range of multidisciplinary applications can be envisaged, ranging from high intensity small aperture light sources for optical memories, to intracellular in vivo nanosensors to hand-held high-sensitivity chemical sensors, with a wide range of applications in security and defence.
There are initial signs of possible commercial exploitation of optical fibre nanowires for sensing.
Dates: Oct 2007-Sep 2012
Summary: The project involves multidisciplinary work to investigate optical fibre nanowires and develop related devices and sensors.
This project is broadly divided in two areas, which relate to
1) the scientific investigation of optical fibre nanowires, and
2) their technological exploitation in the form of components or sensors.
The scientific part of this project aims to evaluate whether the small size can be associated with the exceptional physical properties, such as high strength or novel lasers. Silica nanowires have shown exceptional mechanical properties. The possibility to manufacture macroscopic fibers made from glass nanowires would revolutionise the field of high-strength materials in many fields including aerospace, defence and high speed boats. In optics, nanostructured nanowires have been used to confine light into sub-diffraction dimensions and could be integrated with plasmonics and quantum dots to make a novel class of lasers and to understand the related physical phenomena. Optical nanowires can also generate light in the UV and IR for appreciations in defence (countermeasures, explosive detection), forensic (drug detection), manufacture (glass/plastics marking/processing).
The technological part involves the exploitation of optical nanowires into devices ranging from nanometric light sources to microscopic high-sensitivity sensors. A nanometric light source could find prompt applications in optical memories and in biology. In optical memories data density in optical media could be increased by few orders of magnitude, compressing the data nowadays stored in thousands of disks in a single disk. In biology, nanometric light sources could induce reversible openings in cells, allowing for the introduction of organelles inside a cell; this could find applications in novel vaccines or artificial fecundation. Finally high-sensitivity chemical and physical sensors (like current or acoustic) can find a wide range of applications in security and defence.