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McKelvey School of Engineering

Brown School

ESE Seminar: Federico Capasso

Friday, October 29, 2021 | 10:00 AM - 11:15 AM



Subwavelength spaced arrays of nanostructures, known as metasurfaces, provide a new basis for recasting optical components into thin planar elements, easy to optically align and control aberrations, leading to a major reduction in system complexity and footprint as well as the  introduction of new optical functions. The planarity of flat optics will lead to the unification of semiconductor manufacturing and lens making, where the planar technology to manufacture computer chips will be adapted to make CMOS compatible metasurface based optical components for high volume markets like cell phones. New polarization sensitive and depth cameras will be discussed. Metasurfaces also offer fresh opportunities for structuring light as well as dark. I will discuss spin to total orbital angular momentum (OAM) converters and  high OAM lasing, as well as  flat devices that enable light’s spin and OAM to evolve, simultaneously, from one state to another along the propagation direction . Finally, the demonstration of 2D phase and polarization singularities and the unique applications that they will open up will be discussed


Federico Capasso is the Robert Wallace Professor of Applied Physics at Harvard University, which he joined in 2003 after 27 years at Bell Labs where his career advanced from postdoctoral fellow to Vice President for Physical Research. He pioneered bandgap engineering leading to many new heterostructure  devices including the invention of the quantum cascade laser. He and his  group did  research on plasmonic and dielectric metasurfaces including the generalized laws of refraction and reflection, flat optics with focus on  high performance metalenses and on new methods to generate structured light. He carried out fundamental studies of the Casimir effect including the first measurement of the repulsive Casimir force.

He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the   National Academy of Engineering and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Inventors. His awards include the  Yves Medal/Jarus Quinn Prize  and the Robert Wood Prize of the Optical Society, the Balzan Prize for Applied Photonics, the King Faisal Prize, the American Physical Society Arthur Schawlow Prize, the IEEE Edison Medal and the Enrico Fermi Prize. He holds honorary doctorates from Lund University, Diderot University and the University of Bologna.

Event Type



McKelvey School of Engineering


Science & Technology

Electrical & Systems Engineering
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