Kevin Webb, Purdue University, and Keith Nelson, MIT
Objective: Terahertz (THz) spatial and spectral field control using optimized irregular structures that provide new functionalities by virtue of their large number of degrees of freedom will be studied, designed, fabricated and tested. To control light at THz rates, resonant THz elements will be coupled with optical cavities, and this will allow strong modulation of the emission from quantum dots located in the optical cavity.
Intellectual Merit: The work will pave the way for new THz and optical sources and detectors, for on-chip signal processing, and for new sensing methods. A measure of the degrees of freedom possible from devices formed in a certain volume, and a foundation for guiding the design process for optimized, irregular devices will be established. Hybrid photonic-plasmonic active and passive components will provide a new high-performance, small footprint, manufacturable technology, and the new work will seek THz data rates. More generally, this work will help build the foundations for electrical-optical, optical-optical, and optical-THz functionalities for chip-scale optical networks.
Broader Impact: This award will support two Ph.D. students. At MIT, the project will dovetail with a pre-college outreach program run by the Nelson group. At Purdue, undergraduate students will be recruited to work on this project in the Webb group, and the work will impact the Purdue Engineering Projects in Community Service (EPICS) program.