Caltech Young Investigators Lecture
Designer Matter: New Frontiers in Wave Interactions with Meta- and Nano-structures
Abstract: At the core of several technologies that we enjoy in our everyday lives is the understanding and controlling of light-matter interactions in an effective way. Whether to use the small camera on the cellphone to take a picture, a photovoltaic cell on the roof-top to generate electricity, or an imaging device in the physician's office, we rely on the technological advances made available through understanding and utilizing light-matter interactions. My research involves designing novel structures with "enhanced" and "function-based" light-matter interaction phenomena to directly benefit optical systems in terms of size, speed, sensitivity, and power consumption. In this talk, I will first discuss some of the fundamental bounds that I have demonstrated on the attainable extent of wave manipulation with meta-surfaces. My work helps answering questions such as "Is it physically possible to create a single-layer, high NA lens?" or "Are active elements essential for the next generation of meta-surfaces?" I will then discuss techniques to surpass such limitations and present several light-weight, ultrathin optical devices based on meta-surfaces that I have designed over the past few years. This includes invisibility blankets, back- (retro-) reflectors, photodetectors, and modulators. Next, I will discuss our recent efforts on exploiting the computational capabilities of light in the structured matter. The speed and the parallel processing nature of light makes it a very suitable candidate for fast and low-energy computation. I will present our results on solving integral equations in a fully integrable meta-structure optical platform. Finally, I will share some of our exciting findings on controlling the levels of scattering and absorption in nanostructures, and their applications in wireless communication.
Looking into the long-term future, I am interested in exploring novel capabilities of photonics and nano-optics that have strong applications in communications, medicine, computing, and energy harvesting. I am interested in tackling fundamental problems in electromagnetics and photonics and to discover and investigate new ideas and concepts in the broad scope of light-matter interactions at the subwavelength scale. In my talk, I will share some of the exciting research directions and sample projects that I would like to pursue following this general scheme.
Bio: Nasim Mohammadi Estakhri is a postdoctoral researcher at the department of Electrical and Systems Engineering at University of Pennsylvania. Her research broadly focuses on nanophotonic metamaterials and applied electromagnetics, with recent emphasis on computational metamaterials and novel flat optical components. She received the B.Sc. and M.Sc. (summa cum laude) degrees from the University of Tehran, Iran, and the Ph.D. degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, in 2016.
Dr. Mohammadi Estakhri has authored and co-authored more than 60 scientific contributions with more than 1200 citations. She is a recipient of the George J. Heuer Jr. PhD Endowed Graduate Fellowship from UT-Austin (2013), Professional Development Award from UT-Austin (2013), the IEEE Photonics Society Graduate Student Fellowship (2016), and DMP-APS Post-Doctoral Travel Award (2018). She was recognized as a Rising Star in EECS by Stanford University (2017), and MIT (2018), and will participate in Caltech's EAS Young Investigator Lecture series in 2019.
This lecture is part of the Young Investigators Lecture Series sponsored by the Caltech Division of Engineering & Applied Science.