Prof. Andrea Alù Awarded $359K NSF Grant

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Reciprocity is a general symmetry property that applies to the vast majority of materials. If an antenna transmits towards a specific direction, it must also receive signals from that same direction. To protect sources and improve communication systems, it is desirable to build components not bound by reciprocity requirements that can transmit and receive signals in the same channel without interference.

Today non-reciprocal effects are achieved using a magnetic platform, which leads to bulky, expensive and heavy devices. Modern communication systems and data-processing require compact systems that directly integrate into current optoelectronic systems.

Prof. Andrea Alù and his team of WNCG graduate students are searching for a new route in integrated nanophotonics that will allow magnetic-free, non-reciprocal optical devices that are fully compatible with integrated circuit technology.

To pursue this research, the National Science Foundation recently awarded Prof. Alù a grant of over $359,000 for his work on “Magnetic-Free, Non-Reciprocal Integrated Nanophotonic Components Based on Angular-Momentum Bias.”

Prof. Alù’s research draws from the areas of nano-optics, microwaves, electronics, nanofabrication, analytical modeling and numerical simulations to achieve five major goals.

First, the WNCG team seeks to study angular momentum biasing issues and the relationship between electrical and physical motion. Next, they will create analytical and numerical tools to create more accurate modeling and efficient structure design of these nanophotonic systems.

Another goal is to create efficient devices that are non-reciprocal and do not generate any signal feedback. These devices must be made compatible with current nanophotonic systems. The team’s final goal is to explore the application of angular-momentum biasing to plasmonics and semi-conductors in order to create nanostructures that can be used to create non-reciprocal metasurfaces.

Read more about the NSF grant HERE.