We are actively engaged in both investigating new phenomena in optical microcavities as well as developing new types of non-resonant optical devices. Optical microcavities have been crucial in studying many non-linear effects because of the resonant re-circulation of of light within the microcavity. They also can prove to be an integral component in many telecommunications platforms because of their very narrow linewidths. However, there are many applications where a non-resonant device is preferred. Example research thrusts include: inventing of novel, ultra-high performance devices for telecommunications and biodetection applications, improving our understanding of the behavior of planar optical cavities, and developing hybrid structures
Biosensor Development and Demonstration
The ability to perform label-free experiments is an enabling technology for many biological systems studies. However, currently the majority of label-free detection technologies require very high concentrations of molecules, ie they are not able to perform these potentially revolutionary experiments. One active area of research is developing the techniques and methods which will allow many of the pivotal systems biology questions to be addressed. This research involves improving all aspects of optical senors: specificity, sensitivity, sample collection, and data acquisition and analysis. We are also investigating multiple biological materials, range from cells to single DNA. We are also investigating the development of entirely new methods of biodetection. By its very nature, this research is highly collaborative.
Material Development and Characterization
We are investigating multi-material or hybrid devices which are comprised of polymers and silica. We are using polymers which have the ability to change or modify the optical properties of the optical device. Additionally, we are studying the dynamic and often non-linear properties of polymeric materials by developing a realtime detection and monitoring technique. One of the research topics is the development of such an instrument and its implementation in studying non-linear surface phenomena, such as catalysis and phase transformation. We are also working on developing materials based on silica sol-gels designed to alter the optical properties of our silica-based devices.
As a complementary effort to our experimental work, we perform a significant amount of FEM and FDTD modeling. While the FDTD modeling (Lumerical) is primarily used for modeling the optical devices, the FEM modeling (COMSOL Multiphysics) is used for modeling the complex interactions which occur in the highly dynamic biological and chemical systems, and include multiple physical parameters, such as mechanical, thermal, and kinetic effects in addition to optical.