Youngstown State University’s Dr. Michael Crescimanno, in conjunction with Dr. Kenneth Singer at Case Western Reserve University, has been awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation Division of Materials Research.
The grant is to fund faculty and students from both universities on the project, “OP: Nonlinear Optical Properties of Organic Cavity Polaritons,” for three years.
The interaction of light with matter is of fundamental and long-standing scientific and technological interest. This interaction can be enhanced by using very small structures in which the light bounces back and forth multiple times, such as miniature optical cavities made of two mirrors between which is placed the light absorbing or emitting material. This structure is the basis of the laser and, at sub-wavelength thickness, the cavity polariton. The interaction between organic dyes in such a cavity and light is particularly interesting as the enhancement can be very strong, even at room temperature, leading, for example, to unusually large color changes for the dye. These same organic materials also exhibit pronounced reversible changes with light intensity.
This project is aimed at studying nonlinear optical effects in cavity polaritons in which the aforementioned enhancements in the interaction are very strong. The designed structures and special optical materials having these exceptionally strong light-matter interactions will also lead to useful changes in the temporal response, and provide the possibility of dynamically tuning the linear and nonlinear optical response. The phenomena addressed in this project have potential applications in photonic information processing and communication, and in such technologies as dynamic holographic displays.
The graduate and undergraduate students involved in this project are also involved in mentoring and outreach programs for students from underrepresented groups in the inner cities in northeast Ohio.
The official information for the award can be found on the NSF website.