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MS&E Seminar Series: Dr. Ritesh Agarwal

April 28 @ 4:00 PM 5:00 PM

Professor Ritesh Agarwal
University of Pennsylvania
Host: Song Jin (Chemistry)

Utilizing Geometry and Topology of Materials for Designing On-Chip Classical and Quantum Chiral Photonic Infrastructure

With ever-increasing demand for faster computing devices, copper interconnects are significantly lagging the requirements for moving data rapidly. Optical interconnects provide a promising alternative, allowing faster speeds and larger bandwidths. Most critical optical interconnect components are light sources, waveguides and detectors. Currently, optical information is encoded in intensity and bandwidth of light. However, more information can be encoded using photon spin(SAM) and the orbital angular momentum (OAM) modes of light, which would require the development of new on-chip optical devices. This is not an easy task because most materials are not sensitive to optical chirality. The development of on-chip chiral photonic devices requires fundamental investigations and manipulation of momentum space geometry and topology of materials and their coupling to the environment to engineer specific spin-orbit interactions to control and detect the vectorial states of light. We will discuss some recent developments in our laboratory towards the development of topological waveguides that can route signals based on SAM modes and also photodetectors that are sensitive to coupled SAM-OAM modes. Either by protecting or breaking certain symmetries in (meta)materials, new devices will be discussed that can encode, transmit and sense information by exploiting optical chirality that can be useful for the development of next generation integrated chiral photonic systems.

Ritesh Agarwal is a Professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania. He obtained his BS/MS from IIT Kanpur, MS from Chicago, PhD from UC Berkeley followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard. His research interests include structural, optical, and electronic properties of low-dimensional systems and development of new probes to study complex phases of materials. Ritesh is the recipient of the NSF CAREER, NIH Director’s New Innovator and the SPIE Nanoengineering Pioneer awards. He was elected a Fellow of the Optical Society of America in 2020. In 2022 he received the Heilmeier Award for Excellence in Faculty Research at Penn.

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