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Applied Physics Colloquia

Optical Fourier Surfaces

David J. Norris, Professor of Materials Engineering, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich)

Jan 31, 2020
4:00 pm to 5:00 pm | Pierce Hall, 209

Gratings and holograms are patterned surfaces that tailor optical signals by diffraction. Despite the long history of such structures, variants with remarkable functionalities continue to be discovered. Further advances could exploit Fourier optics, which specifies the surface pattern that generates a desired diffracted output through its Fourier transform. The required surface profile should contain a precise sum of sinusoidal waves, each with a well-defined amplitude, spatial frequency, and phase, to shape the optical wavefront. However, because fabrication techniques typically yield profiles with at most a few depth levels, complex “wavy” surfaces cannot be obtained, limiting the straightforward mathematical design and implementation of sophisticated diffractive optics. In this presentation, we will discuss a simple yet powerful approach to eliminate this design–fabrication mismatch by demonstrating optical surfaces that contain an arbitrary number of specified sinusoids. Multicomponent linear gratings allow precise manipulation of the dispersion, stopbands, and coupling of electromagnetic signals. More broadly, we analytically design and accurately replicate intricate two-dimensional moiré patterns, quasicrystals, and holograms, demonstrating a variety of previously impossible diffractive surfaces. Therefore, this approach provides instant benefit for optical devices (biosensors, lasers, metasurfaces, and modulators) and emerging topics in photonics (topological structures, transformation optics, and valleytronics).

Speaker Bio

David J. Norris was elected Professor of Materials Engineering at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich) in March, 2010. He is currently the Director of the Optical Materials Engineering Laboratory in the Department of Mechanical and Process Engineering.

Born in 1968, Prof. Norris received his B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Chicago in 1990. He then pursued a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry at MIT, graduating in 1995. After a National Science Foundation postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California, San Diego, he joined the NEC Research Institute in Princeton, New Jersey, where he started a research effort on optical materials in 1997. In 2001, he moved to the University of Minnesota as an Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science. He was promoted to Professor in 2006 and served as the Director of Graduate Studies in Chemical Engineering from 2004 to 2010.

In his laboratory, Prof. Norris investigates how materials can be engineered to create new and useful optical properties.  In particular, by understanding fundamental behavior at the nanoscale, he hopes to obtain semiconductor and metallic structures that are useful for applications. Currently, this includes the study of semiconductor nanocrystals (also known as quantum dots) and plasmonic films.

In 2015, Prof. Norris received the Credit Suisse Award for Best Teaching (selected by students as the best teacher at ETH Zurich) and the Max Rössler Prize (the highest research prize at ETH Zurich). He is an ERC Advanced Grant Awardee (2014-​2019), a Fellow of the American Physical Society, and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He currently sits on the editorial advisory boards of ACS Photonics and Nano Letters. Previously, he served as co-​editor for Photonics and Nanostructures and as a member of the editorial board for Chemistry of Materials and Advanced Functional Materials. In 2006-​2007, he was an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow at the Technical University of Munich.


V. Manoharan


Barbara Drauschke