The Center of Excellence in Materials Research and Innovation* (CEMRI) at the University of Michigan's Photonic and Multiscale Nanomaterials (C-PHOM) Center is focused on developing novel multiscale materials for nanophotonics. Light-matter interactions can be controlled both by engineering the electronic properties of the material on the single-nanometer scale, and by incorporating materials into structures that control the propagation of light on the scale of a fraction of the optical wavelength and longer. Materials that are engineered to simultaneously access these multiple length scales simultaneously are referred to as multiscale materials; their development constitutes one of the most exciting frontiers in materials research and in photonics today. Center activities are focused on two interdisciplinary research groups (IRGs) and a coordinated program in diversity, education, and human resources development (EHRD).
IRG1 is dedicated to wide-bandgap nanostructured materials for quantum light emitters. The program will develop wide-gap materials, particularly GaN-based nanostructures, establishing inorganic semiconductor nanophotonic structures with large bandgap and high exciton binding energy for high-efficiency visible light emitters, lasers, energy conversion, and novel quantum devices. The proposed research includes the epitaxy and synthesis of GaN-based nanostructures, their structural, electrical, and optical characterization, their application in laser spectroscopy and quantum optical studies, investigation of strong coupling phenomena, polariton lasing, high-efficiency visible LEDs, and microcavity lasers. This effort is centered at the University of Michigan, with partners at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign and Queens College CUNY.
IRG2 is focused on advanced electromagnetic metamaterials (MM's) and near-field tools. Metamaterials are nanostructured mixtures that behave as homogeneous optical materials with electromagnetic properties unattainable with naturally existing materials, such as negative refraction, cloaking, plasmonic hot spots, and super-resolution. This IRG will investigate MM's - particularly chiral, quasiperiodic and hyperbolic MM's - and MM-inspired structures with unusual properties such as near-field plates and hyperlenses, and develop understanding leading to potential applications in communication, sensing, and imaging (notably sub-wavelength imaging). The IRG consists of a partnership between the University of Michigan and Purdue University, and additional collaborations with Wayne State University and the University of Texas at Austin. Both IRG's include extensive interactions with national labs (Sandia and Argonne) and with overseas institutions.
A key feature of the center mode of research in a CEMRI is that it provides a framework for the close integration of research with educational and outreach initiatives, at the high school, undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral levels. Specific programs to be implemented include undergraduate involvement in CEMRI research via both a Michigan and an international ("City of Light") research experience for undergraduates (REU) program, a focused program for regional high school students from schools with large underrepresented group enrollment, a coordinated system for recruiting underrepresented groups into higher education, and an entrepreneurship program to train PhD students and postdocs and encourage translation of technology developed in the center.
*An NSF Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC)