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Research Fellows Directory

Simone De Liberato

Dr Simone De Liberato

Research Fellow


University of Southampton

Research summary

Photons, the tiny particles that light is made of, normally roam freely at the speed of light. They can nevertheless be ensnared in microscopic traps, conceptually similar to two facing opposing mirrors, between which light bounces back and forth without being able to escape. In these traps light is so concentrated that, when it interacts with matter, it gives rise to new hybrid particles, called polaritons. Polaritons, born from this interaction between light and matter, inherit the best traits from both their parents: they are almost as light and fast as photons, but they also interact strongly with each other, as particles of matter do. These unique characteristics allow us to use polaritons not only to glance at some of the most mysterious quantum phenomena, but also to develop next-generation optoelectronic devices.

In particular, I’m presently working to exploit polaritons to realise T-rays emitting devices. T-rays, or terahertz waves, are a type of light wave that, while very difficult to produce, have the potentiality to replace harmful X-rays in both security and healthcare applications and to fuel a new technological revolution, allowing to transfer data ten times faster than at present.

I am deeply fascinated by quantum physics and by the endless ways it can be harnessed, both to improve our basic understanding of nature, and to develop seemingly impossible technology. My research thus allows me to satisfy my curiosity about the very structure of the quantum world, while still having a strong technological impact.

Interests and expertise (Subject groups)

Grants awarded

Cavity QED with artificial atoms: toward next generation integrated THz emitters

Scheme: University Research Fellowship

Dates: Mar 2014 - Dec 2018

Value: £450,163.28