A New Soliton Offers a Path Toward Compact Molecular Sensing
Scientists know that molecules in our exhaled breath can reveal a vast amount of medical information; for example, sensors to precisely measure minute changes in the concentrations of different vapors in breath may one day replace the standard blood test.” However, no technology is yet available to access this data from exhaled breath in a timely, affordable way. A new process for generating self-reinforcing wave pulses, also known as solitons, may pave the way toward bringing optical molecular sensing out of the lab and into medical devices with a compact footprint.
New Insight into Nonlinear Optical Resonators Unlocks Door to Numerous Potential Applications
Devices known as optical parametric oscillators are among the widely used nonlinear resonators in optics; they are "nonlinear" in that there is light flowing into the system and light leaking out, but not at the same wavelengths. Though these oscillators are useful in a variety of applications, including in quantum optics experiments, the physics that underpins how their output wavelength, or spectrum, behaves is not well understood. "When you add strong nonlinearity to resonators, you enter what we call a 'rich physics regime,'" says Alireza Marandi, Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering and Applied Physics. "'Rich' in physics terms usually means complicated and hard to use, but we need nonlinearities to create useful functionalities such as switching for computing." To be able to make full use of nonlinear optical resonators, researchers want to be able to understand and model the physics that underpin how they work. Marandi and his colleagues recently uncovered a potential way to engineer those rich physics, while discovering phase transitions in the light that is generated by the resonators. [Caltech story]
Professor Marandi Wins AFOSR Young Investigator Award
Professor Alireza Marandi, Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering and Applied Physics, has won a 2019 Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) Young Investigator Award. The objectives of this program are: to foster creative basic research in science and engineering, enhance early career development of outstanding young investigators, and increase opportunities for the young investigators to recognize the Air Force mission and the related challenges in science and engineering. Professor Marandi received the award for his proposal entitled, "Simulton Frequency Combs: Quadratic Solitons for Generation of Few-Cycle Pulses in the Mid- and Long-Wave Infrared." [AFOSR Press Release]