Northwestern University

Fri 4:00 PM

Nate Stern: Playing with Photons in Flatland

When: Friday, September 29, 2017
4:00 PM - 5:00 PM  

Where: Technological Institute, L211, 2145 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Public - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: Yassaman   847.491.7650

Group: Physics and Astronomy Colloquia

Category: Academic


Title: Playing with Photons in Flatland

Speaker: Nate Stern, Northwestern University, Department of Physics and Astronomy

Abstract: Light is a powerful tool of science, shaping thoughts of early Greek philosophers and stimulating development of modern electromagnetism, Einstein’s relativity, and quantum mechanics. The quantum conception of light consisting of particles of discrete energy, or photons, underlies its interaction with matter. For solid materials, this understanding has led to transformational applications both as conventional as sensor and display technologies and as extraordinary as lasers. Despite this ubiquity, advances in materials science continue to reveal nuances in the interaction of light with matter. The recent emergence of layered materials of atomic-scale thickness has revealed a rich optical phenomenology such as layer dependent bandgaps and polarization-sensitive transitions that present a new landscape in which to play with the coupling to photons. In this presentation, I will discuss new regimes of interactions between light and two-dimensional sheets of atoms. I will describe top-down nanopatterning of atomically-thin crystals and their integration with photonic devices to engineer their electromagnetic environment. Harnessing the symmetry of monolayer crystals, we realize spin-polarized exciton-polariton quasi-particles, quantum superpositions that are ‘half-light’ and ‘half-matter’, with properties distinct from either constituent. These examples suggest potential for new coherent quantum optical phenomena and opto-electronic applications that harness the unique properties of low-dimensional nanomaterials.

Host: Stern

Speaker Schedule

Keywords: Physics, Astronomy, colloquium

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