Alec Rose spends month at Australian National University

Smith group graduate student Alec Rose worked with members of the Nonlinear Physiucs Center, headed by Professor Yuri S. Kivshar, on a joint effort studying metamaterials.

His story is below:

Canberra, the capital city of Australia, is also home to the Nonlinear Physics Centre at the Australian National University (ANU), a leading member of the metamaterials research community. Headed by Professor Yuri S. Kivshar, the Nonlinear Physics Centre has contributed heavily to the theory of optical metamaterials, especially with regard to high power applications, where nonlinear effects are prominent. Duke University’s ECE PhD candidate Alec Rose was recently invited to ANU for a month-long joint research effort, during which time he worked closely with Drs. David Powell and Ilya Shadrivov, members of the Nonlinear Physics Centre and highly active metamaterial researchers.

Alec’s time in Australia included leading colloquia at both ANU and Sydney University on the topic of the characterization and design of nonlinear metamaterials. Both talks were hosted by CUDOS, an Australian Centre of Excellence focused on advancing optical science and photonics technology. At Sydney University, Alec was able to meet with several additional CUDOS members, learning the recent advances in chalcogenide glasses from ARC Federation Fellow Professor Ben Eggleton [Nature Photonics 5, 141–148 (2011)], and discussing the finer points of effective medium modeling with Dr. Mikhail Lapine [Optics Express 20, 18297-18302 (2012)].

In addition to a bevy of pictures (see below), Alec returned from ANU with a deeper appreciation of the subtleties involved in complex artificial structures, especially regarding their chiral, or ‘twist,’ properties. For example, in a recent study published in Nature Materials, researchers at the Nonlinear Physics Centre have introduced the concept of “magnetoelastic metamaterials,” in which an incident light wave can induce neighboring metamaterial elements to rotate, deforming the medium as a whole and changing its optical properties [Nature Materials 11, 30-33 (2012)]. As a result, the joint-research effort made use of the Nonlinear Physics Centre’s equipment and expertise in handling circularly polarized waves in the investigation of the nonlinear chiral properties of a microwave metamaterial.

Indeed, implicit collaboration has gone on between Duke and ANU for some time, and much of the growth in nonlinear metamaterials research at CMIP can be traced back to pioneering studies performed at the Nonlinear Physics Centre [Physical Review Letters 91, 037401 (2003)]. For their part, the Nonlinear Physics Centre has made great strides in their optical experimental capabilities, which became evident from a series of discussions with Associate Professor Dragomir Neshev. For example, members of the Nonlinear Physics Centre and ANU achieved nonlinear and voltage-dependent transmission at near-infrared frequencies by infiltrating a metal “fishnet” structure with liquid crystals [Applied Physics Letters 100, 121113-4 (2012)]. As a whole, the visit and collaboration with ANU was a great success, and will hopefully lead to even more mutually beneficial contact between CMIP and ANU’s Nonlinear Physics Centre.