Published: 02 September 2015

Grant awarded to Dr Florescu for research into Hyperuniform Disordered Photonic Materials

The grant has been awarded to Dr Florescu of the University of Surrey’s Advanced Technology Institute by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

The use of light to communicate and process information is widely recognised as the technology that will drive innovations in the 21st century across a wide range of areas, from information technology, energy and sensing, to healthcare. So far, control of light flow has been achieved by carefully and periodically structured materials, which can bend light, slow it down and stop if for a short time, to allow for the processing steps to take place. By controlling the propagation of light, photonic materials with a ‘photonic band gap’ (PBG) are able to offer an alternative to electronic circuits and have the potential to revolutionise the technology driving the digital age.

Based in Surrey’s Advanced Technology Institute (ATI), Dr Florescu research deals with one of the major challenges in photonics: identifying the ultimate architecture platform on which the intricate optical functionalities needed for the photonic circuitry can be implemented. Funded by the EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council), a Surrey-lead joint project with King’s College London will develop a novel class photonic materials in which disorder is exploited as a resource, to control light emission and transport, for future generations of optical devices. The total value of the joint grant is £930,000.

“Due to advances in theoretical, computational and nano-fabrication capabilities we are no longer restricted to well-defined periodic structures. Instead we can construct complex systems made of apparently random patterns, which when suitably designed, can lead to performances superior to those offered by conventional photonic systems” explained Dr Florescu.  

The proposed project will focus on the development of hyperuniform disordered nanophotonic materials, a novel class of photonic structures in which structural correlations and disorder are accurately controlled. Discovered in 2009, these new materials have already attracted considerable attention as they combine the robust properties of periodic systems with the flexibility of disordered ones. The current focus will be to explore the properties of hyperuniform media with the goal to control light flow, to enhance light emission, and to construct novel type of lasers and optical circuits.

The research proposed will enhance UK's capabilities in disordered photonic materials, laser technology and integrated photonics circuitry, will have direct impact on more efficient and cost effective photovoltaic power generation and efficient lightning; the advanced optical capabilities to be enabled by our research will support the constant exponential growth of the "internet of things".

Dr Florescu’s current project, ‘Hyperuniform Disordered Photonic Materials’, will run for 3 years from September 2015.

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