Transforming nonlinear optics with metamaterials

Release Date: November 26, 2015

Natalia Litchinitser

Natalia Litchinitser
The paper examines nonlinear optics, an emerging field of photonics that many scientists believe will deliver breakthroughs in medicine, energy, electronics and other areas.

BUFFALO, N.Y. – Increased bandwidth. Better image processing. More powerful computers.

All are possible due to advancements that scientists are making in the field of nonlinear optics through the use of metamaterials, according to a paper published Friday in the journal Science.

Written by University at Buffalo researchers Natalia Litchinitser and Jingbo Sun, the paper provides a snapshot of nonlinear optics, which is an emerging field of photonics that many scientists believe will deliver breakthroughs in medicine, energy, electronics and other areas.

The paper addresses how optical metamaterials – materials created in laboratories with unique properties that do not exist in nature – can transform nonlinear materials. Specifically, it points to meta-atoms (the unit cells of metamaterials) as a relatively new approach that could expand the scope of nonlinear interactions between light and artificially-structured media.

“Meta-atoms are poised to revolutionize nonlinear optics, with potential applications ranging sensing to much faster computer chips,” said Litchinitser, PhD, professor of electrical engineering at the UB School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

The research of Litchinitser and Sun, PhD, an assistant research professor of electrical engineering, is supported by the U.S. Army Research Office.

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