Lab


Our research expertise is in optical materials, nanotechnology and photonics. We study the fundamental science of propagation and manipulation of light, including lasers, as well as its interaction with physical matter. Specifically, we conduct research on measuring, understanding and enhancing the mechanical, electrical and optical properties of transducer-type materials to be used in functional devices and applications.

Transducer materials are capable of actively changing a certain input energy signal, such as voltage, light signal or temperature variation into a different output energy signal, such as mechanical movement, refractive index change, electricity or light emission.

Currently, the following transducer effects are experimentally and theoretically researched in our group:

  • Photomechanical behaviour (light-induced molecular motion) and laser-induced nanostructures in azobenzene-containing materials.
  • Surface plasmon resonance, electromagnetic energy interaction between light and matter.
  • Photovoltaic properties of solar cells.
  • Electro-optical effects.
  • Non-linear optical effects.
  • Thermo-optical effects.
  • Electromechanical, which includes piezoelectric and electrostrictive effects.
  • Dielectric and polarization properties.

In recent years, our groupís main research theme has been on the laser nanofabrication of novel uniform, non-uniform and circular surface relief diffraction gratings in photomechanical azobenzene thin films. After fabrication, we incorporate these nanostructures in practical optical devices, such as electro-optical modulators, light waveguides and others. We also utilize our gratings for the generation of surface plasmon resonance on dielectric/metal interfaces for incorporation in a variety of light-based sensors and biosensors, as well as for enhancing the efficiency of organic thin film solar cells, light emitting diodes and imaging devices.

Below are a few pictures from our research:

1-linear
Laser-induced surface relief diffraction gratings fabricated in our lab.

2-linear
Silver-coated surface relief diffraction gratings.



Atomic Force Microscope image of a linear surface relief diffraction grating on azo-glass thin film.



Scanning Electron Microscope image of a surface relief diffraction grating from our lab. Image taken at RMC.


Crossed-superimposed surface relief diffraction gratings fabricated in our lab.



Another view of crossed-superimposed surface relief diffraction gratings from our lab.



Atomic Force Microscope image of a crossed-superimposed surface relief diffraction grating on azo-glass thin film.


Circular diffraction gratings from our lab.



Plot showing the diffraction efficiency of a circular surface relief diffraction grating inscribed using our lasers.


Electric-field induced nanostructures on azo-glass thin film.



Atomic Force Microscope image of electric-field induced nanostructures on azo-glass thin film produced in our lab.



Atomic Force Microscope image of electric-field induced nanostructures on azo-glass thin film produced in our lab, at a wider view.



Chirped (variable pitch) surface relief diffraction gratings from our lab.



Non-uniform surface relief diffraction gratings fabricated using a holographic technique.



Arrow length is depicting grating pitch value, arrow direction is depicting grating vector orientation and colour map is depicting grating depth for a non-uniform diffraction grating.



Plasmonic biosensor depicting a shift in the plasmon wavelength.



Nanoplasmonic biosensor designed and tested in our lab for the detection of proteins and bacteria via surface plasmon resonance and based on crossed surface relief gratings.


Plasmonic organic thin film solar cells fabricated in our lab.



Plot showing the photocurrent enhancement in organic solar cells with surface plasmon resonance.


Nanolithography using our Bruker AFM, the image scale is approximately 2-3 times smaller than the average human hair.

SEM1
Scanning Electron Microscope image of a gold-coated grating from our lab. Image taken by the group of Prof. Howe at the University of Toronto.

SEM2
Scanning Electron Microscope image of a gold-coated crossed grating from our lab. Image taken by the group of Prof. Howe at the University of Toronto.

biosensing
Surface plasmon imaging used for biosensing uropathogenic E. Coli bacteria using crossed gratings from our lab.