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Photonics Worldwide—This is My Lab

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I am Abhinav Sharma, a Ph.D. student at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light (MPL), Germany. I work under the supervision of Prof. Philip Russell. During my B.Sc. in Physics, I found an interest in optics and decided to pursue my career in this domain. After completing my engineering and MSc in photonics, I decided to go for a Ph.D. Since I had a profound interest in the field of laser and fiber optics, I aspired to work under the supervision of Prof. Russell at MPL. My work focuses on optical trapping and manipulation of micro- and nano-particles inside a hollow-core photonic crystal fiber using a laser source. One of my projects is to monitor air pollution using optical methods. Considering the impact of particulate matter on the environment and health, my work investigates how a single-beam optical trap configuration can help in counting, sizing and in measuring the refractive index of particles with an aerodynamic diameter of less than 2.5 μm (PM2.5) in real-time with an effectively unlimited device lifetime. This novel method relies on the optical forces, which automatically capture and propel the particles in front of the fiber through the hollow core. The resulting transmission drop, together with the time-of-flight of the particles, provides an unambiguous mapping of the particle diameter and the refractive index with high accuracy.

Naznin lab

I am Naznin Akter from Bangladesh. I received My B.Sc. (Hons.) and MS degree in Applied Physics, Electronics and Communication Engineering (APECE) from the University of Dhaka, Bangladesh, in 2012 and 2014. I received my second MS degree in Electrical Engineering in 2020 from ECE, FIU. Currently, I am a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) at Florida International University.

My journey with Photonics started when I joined the INSYST Integrated Nanosystems Research Laboratory Lab at FIU. I was intrigued by the tremendous potential and influence of photonics on various perspectives of our daily community life and instantly fell in love with it. My research is broadly focused on Nanophotonics, Plasmonics, Metamaterials, THz devices, and technologies. Though I do not have previous photonics-based research experience, I can now cope with up-to-date photonics research due to my advisor Dr Nezih Pala’s exceptional supervision, guidance, and research-based sincere approach. Currently, I am investigating and exploring novel materials such as graphene to design a high responsivity, low noise, tunable, compact size, faster response time, lower cost, and room temperature operable THz detector.

Moreover, the same devices are expected to serve as THz emitters when plasma wave instabilities are excited under the right biasing conditions and expected to have a higher emission power. I am also working on THz IC image processing using convolution neural network (CNN) based deep learning to
identify faulty ICs among pure ICs, which is crucial for future hardware cybersecurity applications. Apart from this, I am also working on some collaborative projects focused on biosensing and metal-ceramic based nanocomposites for solar energy harvesting. I like to work in a diverse field, which allows me to explore and learn more. As a researcher, I am always open to new ideas and concepts to investigate and comprehend the diverse world of photonics and its evolution over time. I am profoundly grateful and pleased to have the privilege of working with state-of-the-art infrastructure in a photonics laboratory and contributing to improving photonics impact on a brighter future.

Guowu Zhang

My name is Guowu Zhang, a 3rd-year Ph.D. student at McGill University. My research interest is on computational methods for nanophotonic design and optimization. The most fascinating thing about this research field is that it provides a general solution for designing and optimizing nanophotonics devices using Maxwell’s equations instead of playing with various geometries for different devices. The computational method intends to design devices with appealing features, like low insertion loss, low crosstalk, compactness and robustness to fabrication errors.

My story with photonics can be tracked to my MSc in Zhejiang University. In my MSc, I mainly worked on digital signal processing algorithms for optical communication systems. I used optical devices, like lasers, modulators, photodetectors, etc. to build an optical system. However, at that time, I had no idea about how these devices are designed. Luckily, during my Ph.D. at McGill University with Professor Odile Liboiron-Ladouceur, I started working on designing nanophotonic devices. But my previous research experience still affects my Ph.D. research. For example, whenever I started designing a device, I always tried to use algorithms and code to further optimize my designs. I kept doing this until I was amazed by one of the techniques that I came across called adjoint-method based inverse design. All the performance that I was perusing at that time is described by mathematical language in that technique. I realized this was the research field I wanted work in, as I already have experience with optimization and designing nanophotonic devices. Now, we have a collaboration with National Research Council Canada targeting further investigation on computational methods for nanophotonic devices design. I enjoy working with my supervisor and pioneers in silicon photonics from the National Research Council Canada since we always have insightful discussions.