ANN ARBOR, Mich.---A new $13-million National…
ANN ARBOR, Mich.---A new $13-million National Science Foundation center based at the University of Michigan will develop high-tech materials that manipulate light in new ways. The research could enable advances such as invisibility cloaks, nanoscale lasers, high-efficiency lighting, and quantum computers.
The Center for Photonic and Multiscale Nanomaterials, dubbed C-PHOM, involves engineering and physics researchers from the U-M College of Engineering and the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, as well as close collaborators at Purdue University and several other institutions.
Photonics is the study and use of light to transmit and store information, as well as to image things humans can't see with unaided eyes. It's one of the key technologies underlying modern life, says Ted Norris, director of the new center and a U-M professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.
Photonics provides the high-speed backbone of the Internet through fiber optics. It serves as a ubiquitous tool for medical imaging. And it enables the study of the most exotic ideas in quantum physics, such as entanglement and quantum computing.
"Advances in photonics depend critically on new materials, and this new center brings together top minds in electrical engineering, materials science, and physics to focus on two of the most exciting new directions in materials for nanophotonics," Norris said. "The cross-campus collaboration will enable fundamental advances."
An illustration of the sub-wavelength focussing of light by a so-called "near-field plate," a device made of a metamaterial that was invented by physics professor Roberto Merlin and co-developed by electrical engineering associate professor Anthony Grbic.
Credit: Roberto Merlin.