Research Fellows Directory
Professor Gilberto Brambilla
University of Southampton
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.