University of Illinois

Urbana Champaign

Electrical and Computer Engineering

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Current Projects

Development of Novel Nanosctructure-Based Mid-Infrared Sources

Sponsor: National Science Foundation

Project Description: The initial demonstration and rapid development of the Quantum Cascade Laser has provided a powerful, compact, and wavelength flexible light source for a wide variety of mid-IR applications.  Despite the remarkable development of this new semiconductor light source, opportunities exist to improve the wall-plug efficiency of these lasers, as well as to develop active gain material with the potential for direct integration into surface-emitting laser configurations.

In this work we are investigating the possibility of incorporating self-assembled and nanolithographically-defined quantum dots into quantum cascade structures for high efficiency, sirface emitting mid-IR light sources.  The project includes growth, fabrication, quantum design, and characterization components.


Active Plasmonic Structures for Beam Steering and On-Chip Applications

Sponsor: Air Force Office of Scientific Research

In this project we are working on the development of plasmonic mid-IR beam steering technologies and active mid-IR plasmonic components for on-chip control of long-wavelength surface excitations.  From our initial work on this project, we have also expanded to investigate both epsilon-near-zero (ENZ) materials in the mid-IR wavelength range, as well as designer metals for mid-IR applications.

The project includes numerical simulations of mid-IR plasmonic structures, fabrication of subwavelength plasmonic geometries, growth of designer metallic semiconductors, and complex optical characterization techniques.


Mid-Infrared Plasmonics for Sensing Applications

Sponsor: National Science Foundation

In this project, a collaborative research project with Prof. Mohamed Diagne's group at Connecticut College, we are investigating the d evelopment of mid-IR plasmonic structures and devices for active sensing applications.  In particular, we are looking at tuning mechanisms for active control of the spectral properties of mid-IR plasmonic and metamaterial structures.   The structures under investigation include simple plasmonic structures such as extraordinary optical transmission gratings, but also more complex mid-IR waveguiding structures and mid-IR metamaterial structures.


Department of Energy, Energy Frontier Research Center: Plasmonic Materials

In this work we are investigating the interaction between mid-IR, near-IR, and visible light emitters and plasmonic and metamterial cavities.  We are particularly interested in understanding, controlling, and enhancing the interaction between light sources and novel plasmonic and metamaterial structures for enhanced and actively controllable emitters.


Missile Defense Agency, STTR Program:

Tunable metamaterial filters


Air Force Research Lab , STTR Program:  Tunable mid-IR filter structures

Tunable mid-IR plasmonic filters

Previous Projects/Funding Sources

  • Air Force Research Lab: Mid-IR Plasmonic Beam Steering
  • Air Force Research Lab: Development of nBn detectors
  • Alloy Surfaces Inc.: Selectrive Thermal Emission from Patterned Steel Surfaces
  • Sandia National Labs: Characterization of Mid-IR Metamaterials
  • Sandia National Labs: Mid-IR Quantum Dot Emitters in Planar Photonic Crystal Cavities