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University of Wisconsin–Madison

Multiscale Photonic Structures for Complete Opto-Electronic Control of Light

This research project will lead to creation of a crucial electrical component that would enable the creation of holographic displays, high resolution biomedical imaging, and laser-based range finders that would be valuable for self-driving cars.  This component, which the project team calls a “multi-scale tunable metasurface,” or MSTM, functions by perturbing the phase and amplitude of light that is reflected off of it, such that the light can – for example – be focused at an extremely fine spot, or redirected at different angles.   The creation of such a solid-state device has been heavily sought after, but elusive due to absorption that occurs in most materials.  The project team proposes a fundamentally new design that bypasses the absorption problem.  The design requires the fabrication of extremely small nanostructures next to larger optical structures, which is nearly impossible using conventional lithography methods.  However, the team proposes using a recently invented bottom-up lithography method to create the structure.


Victor Brar, assistant professor of physics



Padma Gopalan, professor of materials science and engineering