Recent advances in fabrication techniques have enabled an unprecedented control of material structure at micro- and even nano-metric length scales. These developments, together with the fast progress of large-scale computing technologies, have led to the possibility of creating a new class of materials with optical properties dramatically different from those found in naturally occurring materials.

  My research interests focus on harnessing this capability to discover novel fundamental physical phenomena supported by these materials and to apply this knowledge to the development of important applications in such diverse areas as optical communications, energy, defense, or medicine. Some of my recently finished projects include (for more information see Publications),

Lasing action in periodically-structured  dielectric materials: We found that the unique properties of photonic crystals to achieve simultaneous spectral and spatial electromagnetic mode engineering can be exploited to enable low-threshold laser emission.

Control of Terahertz (THz) radiation  using holey metallic meta-materials

In a combined experimental and theoretical work, we demonstrated a novel class of metamaterial in which the constituent meta-atoms are single subwavelength apertures tailored to work as nano-resonators in the THz frequency regime.

Efficient THz generation at room temperature: We introduced a novel route for efficient on-chip THz generation at room temperature via nonlinear frequency mixing of two optical or near-infrared beams. Furthermore, we proposed a realistic design featuring 1mm2 footprint, and readily accessible experimentally both for fabrication and demonstration of quantum-limited THz conversion efficiency at sub-W power levels.  

Ultrafast all-silicon photodetection: We introduced a novel ultrafast photodetection scheme that, in contrast with traditional photodetection techniques used in photonics (mainly based on linear absorption), relies on the enhancement of two-photon absorption (TPA). To obtain the dramatic enhancement of the TPA process needed to enable efficient photodetection, we took advantage of the unique properties of optical micro-resonators, such as disk microresonators or photonic crystal microcavities, to enhance nonlinear optical phenomena.

Generation of light in disordered non-linear crystals: By combining experiments and theory, we reported unexpected properties in the angular distribution of the second-harmonic light emitted by a transparent nonlinear disordered structure, such as an intense generation in the forward direction or speckle pattern formation.

Graphene nanophotonics and optoelectronics: We explore the extraordinary electronic and photonic properties of graphene (a two-dimensional sheet of carbon atoms) to enable novel phenomena with significant potential for applications. Recently, we found that the large intrinsic optical nonlinearity of graphene enables the formation of self-guided light beams featuring subwavelength widths at moderate electric- field peak intensities.

Dirac points in photonic materials: Recently, we reported on a novel route to achieve all-dielectric three-dimensional photonic materials featuring Dirac cone dispersion. We found that this 3D photonic analog to graphene allows creating large-area systems that, however, behave as single mode structures. This finding could  contribute to the development of a number of important applications, such as low-threshold large-area lasers, enhanced single-photon sources, and novel efficient platforms for solar energy harvesting.

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