UC Santa Barbara – Nanophotonics

I’m currently on the tail-end of my PhD with the Schuller Lab at UC Santa Barbara.  It’s been a fun ride!

When I joined it was a new group, only established the prior year. My adviser asked to “reproduce simulations from this and that paper, and make some stuff in the clean-room”, so, I did. The simulations led to some interesting findings on tunable plasmonic antennas, which made their way into a short Optics Express paper and the 2015 Spring Materials Research Society Meeting in San Francisco . The experimental studies on designing dielectric metamaterials were published in Scientific Reports and the 2015 SPIE Optics + Photonics Meeting in San Diego.

On the side, I helped out other group members with simulations and nano-fabrication, and ended up co-authoring a Nano Letters article on tuning dielectric antennas through doping, another Nano Letters article on tuning dielectric antennas through the thermo-optic effect, and a theoretical ACS Photonics article on the principles of designing reconfigurable semiconductor metasurfaces.

Soon after, a grant I helped write was funded and I was able to devote full effort towards my primary project: developing reconfigurable nano-optical devices using metal-insulator phase transitions in Vanadium Dioxide. This led to a paper on switchable dielectric-plasmonic metamaterials published in ACS Photonics, another paper currently in review, and an invention we’re attempting to patent. I was lucky enough to present these results at the 2016 Gordon Research Conference in Nanophotonics in Maine, the 2017 Nano-Meta Conference in Austria, the 2018 SPIE Photonics West Conference in San Francisco, and several upcoming events.

In sum, I ended up learning a wide range of skill-sets:

  • Analytical Calculation (Transfer-Matrix-Method, Mie Theory, Green’s Functions with Mathematica)
  • Numerical Simulation (FDTD with Lumerical, FEM with COMSOL)
  • Nano-Fabrication (Mostly PECVD, E-Beam Deposition, Reactive-Ion-Etching, Photolithography, Electron-Beam-Lithography)
  • FTIR Spectroscopy (Temperature-Dependent, Electrically-Triggered Devices, Vacuum Systems, Time-Resolved)
  • Optical Materials Modelling (Fitting Drude-Models to FTIR Spectra, Ellipsometry)
  • Programming (Mostly Python, Some C)