Design and Fabrication of Nanostructured Metamaterials to Advance the Efficiency of Light-Enhancing Applications

About the Program

This is a joint research program between Dalhousie University and Metamaterial Technologies Inc. (MTI), funded by Mitacs Accelerate. The program runs in Halifax for 3 years from March 2019.

We are seeking 15 highly motivated interns (PhD students and postdocs) with interests in computational electromagnetics, metamaterials, light-matter interactions, radio-wave sensing, nanophotonics and nanofabrication. The interns will split their time between Dalhousie University and MTI.

To apply for a postdoc position in the program, please visit MTI’s career page at metamaterial.com/careers .

For PhD applicants and for inquiries, please contact:

Dalhousie University: Prof. Ian Hill ian.hill@dal.ca
Metamaterial Technologies Inc.: Dr. Ragip Pala ragip.pala@metamaterial.com

Objective

The program aims to explore and develops innovative designs of resonant structures and novel metamaterial systems within the limits of advanced fabrication capabilities for next-generation light harvesting, optical imaging/filtering, thermal management systems, and enhanced spectroscopy tools in optical and radio-wave frequencies.

Summary

The manipulation of light has been a key driving factor in human progress throughout history. Each industrial advance has successively become more and more dependent on the manipulation of light and concomitant advances in our understanding of related phenomena: advances and discoveries in electricity, electromagnetic technology, wireless communications, lasers, and computers have all been driven by furthering our knowledge of the nature of light and techniques for its manipulation.

Advances in lithography and fabrication techniques in the last few decades have enabled us to control the optical properties of materials at the nanoscale, resulting in the emerging field of metamaterials. As the material size is reduced to deep subwavelength scales, novel designs have been proposed and demonstrated to enhance the light-matter interaction and enable efficient integration of ultra-compact and functional components into optical and electrical systems. As a result, many novel physical phenomena in this field have been introduced with application areas ranging from medicine to telecommunication, from solid-state lighting to spectroscopy. However, these studies so far have been limited to lab-scale demonstrations and required expensive nanofabrication tools. There is a clear need for inexpensive fabrication techniques that will enable large-scale implementation of new metamaterial-based technologies.

MTI has recently developed an innovative technology for producing photonic metamaterials using a low cost, roll-to-roll process. This unique lithography technique provides a distinct capability to realize cost-effective, large-scale fabrication of flexible, nanostructured ultra-thin films for various new technologies. The program will also address scientific challenges induced by the fabrication limitations and develop alternative design solutions for improved device performance.

The program is divided into 5 research areas:

  • Narrowband Laser Filtering Systems. Nano-structured thin film materials for transparent, ultra-thin optical filters will be developed for applications in laser protection in aviation.
  • Ultra-light-weight Photovoltaic Systems with high efficiencies. Highly efficient flexible solar panels for application in aerial vehicles, with improved overall efficiency of ultra-thin cells by collecting solar light from all angles and enhancing absorption across the most useful spectral regions.
  • Efficient Light-Emitting Diodes. Optimization of LED emission enhancers that can be mounted on existing LED sources to substantially improve their luminosity, making them super-bright, and dramatically more efficient than current LED sources.
  • Medical Diagnostics & Non-Invasive Sensing of Glucose Levels. Modelling and analysis of a dual-sensor glucose monitor that utilizes a wearable thin film, which makes the skin transparent to radio waves, enabling penetration to reach blood plasma.
  • Flexible Transparent Conductive Films. Optimization of metallic mesh designs to enable electromagnetic interference (EMI) shielding with high transparency and investigate metallic mesh distributions that would minimize haze and obscuration.