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Assembly Series

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McKelvey School of Engineering

"Nonlinear and Active Flat Optics with High Quality Factor Nanoantennas"

Monday, November 1, 2021 | 1:30 PM - 2:30 PM

Brauer Hall, 12

Mark Lawrence, Assistant Professor, Electrical & Systems Engineering, Washington University in St. Louis. 

Radio-frequency antennas are all around us, allowing everything from watches and mobile phones to televisions and refrigerators to connect wirelessly to the internet. Today, developments in nanotechnology are bringing antenna physics to a whole new domain—optics. Replacing carefully polished pieces of glass with arrays of nanoscale antennas, it is possible to shrink the thickness of any optical component, including lenses, prisms and polarizers, down to just a few hundred nanometers. For comparison, that’s more than one hundred times thinner than a human hair. However, while their 2-dimensional form is impressive, like the lenses, prisms and polarizers they replace, these nanostructured devices are still passive components.

In this talk, I will introduce a new class of nanoantennas capable of both tailoring light scattering while simultaneously trapping light for an extremely long time. I will show how the corresponding enhancement of the light intensity amplifies nonlinear and active phenomena that are typically too weak to measure without sophisticated laboratory-based illumination and measurement schemes. Accessing these phenomena in nanoantennas promises to bring exciting applications in telecommunications, metrology and medicine directly to your smart phone. Specifically, I will outline the design, fabrication and characterization of a suite of new nanostructured optical devices, including self-isolated lasers; fast, precise and efficient solid-state LiDAR; and ultra-sensitive bio-image-sensors.

Event Type



Arts & Sciences, McKelvey School of Engineering


Science & Technology

Electrical & Systems Engineering, Institute of Materials Science & Engineering
Event Contact

Beth Gartin

Speaker Information

Dr. Mark Lawrence joined the Electrical and Systems Engineering Department of Washington University as an assistant professor in November 2020. Before Washington University, he worked as a postdoctoral researcher in the Materials Science and Engineering Department at Stanford University, under Prof. Jennifer Dionne. Mark received his MSci and Ph.D. degrees in Physics from the University of Birmingham, advised by Prof. Shuang Zhang.  Mark’s research combines novel theoretical and computational methods in electromagnetism and nanophotonics with experimental demonstrations spanning optical to terahertz frequencies. These demonstrations target wide-ranging applications including optical communications and computing, high-speed and compact telemetry, augmented and virtual reality, and energy harvesting. Mark's work has been recognized with the Nolan Merrill prize for best dissertation, a best poster award, and a late news talk at the Nanophotonics and Plasmonics GRC in 2018, and has even inspired a theatrical performance “Liriope: A retelling of the Narcissus myth with movement and music”.

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