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Photonics and Modern Electro-Magnetics Group



[Prof. Marin Soljačić's research group at MIT]

Technological advances of the past decade have enabled the control of the material structure
at length-scales smaller than the wavelength of light. This enabled creation of new materials
(e.g. photonic bandgap crystals, or various surface plasmon systems ), whose optical properties
are dramatically different than those of any naturally occurring material. For example,
nanostructured materials which display diffraction-less propagation of light , exhibit negative
refraction, or support very slow propagation of light , have all been demonstrated. Our research
interests are in exploring the new and exciting physical phenomena supported by such materials.
Our work is roughly equally split between theoretical and experimental studies.

For some representative examples of this, please check out our work on one-way waveguides,
plasmons in graphene, Dirac points in Photonic Crystals, a unique way of trapping light, novel
transparent displays, or systems for angular selectivity of light.

The unique properties of optical nano-structured materials have already enabled a wide range of
very important applications (e.g. in medicine, energy , telecommunications , defense, etc.) and are
expected to do even more so in the future.

We are also interested in various topics in nonlinear optical physics. Maxwell's equations as
presented in most undergraduate text books are linear. However, all materials in nature are
nonlinear ( including vacuum ), and sure enough, at high light intensities, optical phenomena
becomes nonlinear, displaying a wide range of rich and beautiful behavior. For example, almost
every general non-linear dynamics phenomenon (e.g. solitons , pattern formation, fractals , etc.)
can now be studied in optical material systems.

In addition, we are excited about the feasibility of wireless power transfer.