Dancing light at Nano scale
Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Thiruvananthapuram (India)
Please explain your research in simple words
I work in the area of microwave photonics exploiting nonlinear optical processes in single mode optical fibers. While I don't exactly work in the area of nanoscience, the experiments that I do in lab will eventually will be implemented at the nanoscale level. Some of my work includes creating notch filters and optical switches that are employed in the area of optical communication, electronic warfare, etc.
Monday - How the field of nanophotonics emerged?
Tuesday - What is the role of whispering gallery in optics?
Wednesday - Biosensing
Thursday - Are we facing a crunch in the telecommunication sector?
Friday - Interesting nanophotonic effects
Saturday - Future of nanophotonics
What can the followers expect in your curation week?
How did you end up in your current research field?
I have always been fascinated by the world of light. I had a ball lens as a kid and I have enjoyed focussing light from the sun onto a paper and see how it burns it. Later, I joined for a Bachelor's program in Physics where I worked with a couple of friends to create an artifical rainbow from a single drop of water. It was in a dark room and I remember how I looked in awe at the rainbow once it emerged at the right conditions. Following that, I did M.Sc in Physics with a specialisation in laser science. It was my project supervisor who motivated me to look into a class of materials called metamaterials. Again, load of fun! Finally, in 2014, I joined Ph.D. in Physics and now work in the area of microwave photonics.
Well. It is a slightly tricky question for me because I don't directly work in the area of material or nanoscience. As I mentioned, I work in the area of microwave photonics. I develop proof of concept experiments and if these experimental results have to manifest as devices then the regime to look forward to is the nanoscale regime. For example, my experimental setups are of table top size and it is cumbersome with fibers. But the final device working on the same principle will be a nanoscale chip.
How and where does your research fall in the domain of materials/nano science?
Which research project are you most proud of and could you explain it in simple words in the section we call #InOtherwords?
I really love two of my projects. In both the cases, we were looking at the spectra of a certain nonlinear process called Brillouin scattering. Generally, the spectra is supposed to be a Lorentzian which is symmetric is nature. Instead, while I was working at it, I observed it to be asymmetric. Initially, I thought it to be an experimental glitch but we worked over it to see that it was indeed a very interesting effect which has been previously observed in Physics called the Fano effect. What makes it interesting is that in all the other cases where Fano effect has been observed, the tunability is limited due to the geometry of the structure and material properties.
I would love to teach the basics of optics, laser science, and non linear fiber optics
If you teach, which are the courses would you like to mention?
If you had 3 wishes to improve your research experience, what would you ask for (not promising anything here!)?
1. I got my lab a year after I joined so if I had got the lab earlier, I would have been happy. 2. I did not have a senior in lab and I was the only one working on microwave photonics. I believe that discussion can lead to better research. 3. Honestly, everything else was perfect except my health! :)
I hope to complete my thesis. I am on leave because of my bipolar disorder. So I am taking things one day at a time to finish my thesis. I would like to get into scicomm after that.
What are you most looking forward to in the next 3 months?
Which challenges/questions is the nano/materials science field facing at the moment?
It is growing at a rapid pace. For optics, the bigger question is to address the telecommunication crunch. It includes finding the right material and wavelength limits to operate.