Making photons interact, flow one-way, and go slow


Thursday, April 11, 2024
12:30 - 13:30


There is a rapidly increasing need for faster yet more energy e5icient computers. Using photons
instead of electrons to perform mathematical and logical operations could be a potential
pathway: light is fast and can travel without dissipation. Unfortunately, photons bring their own
challenges: logical operations require strongly nonlinear interactions, light sources are often
bulky and ine5icient, and any form of disorder can induce strong losses. In this talk, I will
demonstrate how combining material engineering with photonics can bring out the best of both,
and enables novel approaches to address those challenges. Specifically, I will show how
materials with tailored optical transitions can achieve extremely strong optical nonlinearities,
resulting in high reflection at low light intensity but near-absent reflection at high intensity. I will
show how to achieve very fine control over the reflectivity as a function of incident angle by adding
spatial structuring of a material, which can be used for complete control over the direction and
polarization of thermal radiation. As a final layer of complexity, I will demonstrate that by
additionally breaking time-reversal symmetry one can achieve robust, one-way, and very slow
propagation of light. To conclude, I will discuss applications of this conjunction between photonic
and material design to energy and sensing technologies and highlight open questions and




UvA - Faculty of Science

Room number





particle phenomenology, soft matter


Dr. Sander A. Mann (City University of New York)

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