Loading...
Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Metamaterials from liquid crystal colloids

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
1.02.01  Natural sciences and mathematics  Physics  Physics of condesed matter 

Code Science Field
P002  Natural sciences and mathematics  Physics 

Code Science Field
1.03  Natural Sciences  Physical sciences 
Keywords
soft matter, liquid crystals, metamaterials, colloids, photonics
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (11)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  38008  PhD Jure Aplinc  Physics  Researcher  2016 - 2018  24 
2.  29528  PhD Matjaž Humar  Physics  Researcher  2016 - 2018  184 
3.  03321  Ivan Kvasić  Physics  Technical associate  2016 - 2018  22 
4.  34782  Janja Milivojević    Technical associate  2016 - 2018 
5.  09089  PhD Igor Muševič  Physics  Researcher  2016 - 2018  750 
6.  33744  PhD Maryam Nikkhou  Physics  Researcher  2016  14 
7.  25670  PhD Miha Ravnik  Physics  Head  2016 - 2018  435 
8.  34263  PhD Anna Ryzhkova  Physics  Researcher  2016 - 2018  17 
9.  12338  PhD Miha Škarabot  Physics  Researcher  2016 - 2018  253 
10.  38031  MSc Shun Wang  Physics  Researcher  2016 - 2018 
11.  07110  PhD Slobodan Žumer  Physics  Researcher  2016 - 2018  1,026 
Organisations (2)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0106  Jožef Stefan Institute  Ljubljana  5051606000  90,682 
2.  1554  University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Mathematics and Physics  Ljubljana  1627007  34,085 
Abstract
Photonics and control over the flow-of-light is today a highly competitive and quickly developing field with ambitious scientific and technological goals that include optical computing, fast data transfer, energy efficiency and novel sensing and manufacturing processes in fields ranging from medical science to space technology. Development of novel unconventional optical materials is at the forefront of challenges in these areas as new materials allow for new, better, and different mechanisms and applications of light fields. In this soft matter photonics project, we propose the development of novel optical materials –the nematic fluid metamaterials- and study of their unconventional emergent photonic phenomena by equally combining experiments and theory modelling approaches. The goal is to realise selected proof-of-concept metamaterials and explore their main photonic functions. At the core of these new three-dimensional soft metamaterials will be bulk-conductive and surface-conductive colloidal particles and surfaces of designed three-dimensional shapes, such as prisms, platelets and hollow particles, to perform as split ring resonators, capable of designed anisotropic metamaterial photonic response. They will be dispersed in the host nematic fluid which will provide a fluid matrix for the particle self-assembly, with unique capabilities of spatial and temporal tunability, topological binding and responsiveness to external fields. As a far reach vision, effectively, all modern displays are based on the unique and simple tunability of birefringence of nematic fluids which originates from orientational ordering of anisotropic molecules; and the idea in this proposal is to extend this tunability to metamaterial birefringence with positive and negative refractive (eigen) indices by self-assembling super-structures of colloidal meta-particles in the nematic fluid. By appropriate design of the colloidal metamaterial, including (i) particle shape, size, and symmetry, (ii) nematic elasticity and (iii) functionalization of surfaces, the aim is to achieve reconfigurable metamaterials with negative permeabilities and/or permittivities at frequencies ranging from THz and optical to infrared. Of particular scientific relevance will be questions on: (i) the relation between the symmetry of the structure and the metamaterial light response, (ii) 3D metamaterial optical anisotropy with possible double negative refraction, and (iii) hierarchical multi-scale design of metamaterials - which are all open and “hot” scientific question at the front of soft matter photonics research. The developed metamaterials will be fluid, flexible, polymerizable – if needed-, and inherently tunable, which are material characteristics far beyond the current state-of-the-art. The project will realized by the soft matter group in Ljubljana which is world-wide known for joint theoretical and experimental work and high scientific standards, e.g. proposal-related publications include Nature Phys. 2015, Nature Mater. 2014, Science 2011, and Nature Photon. 2009. The research work of the project is strongly intertwined in the international research efforts with collaborators including UColorado, UOxford, UGhent, Mahindra Ecole Centrale and USA AFRL. The socio-economic deliverables of the project are designed to yield distinct outreach, contribute to the excellence of Slovenia and abroad, and contribute new knowledge in photonics to Slovenian photonic industry. Finally, this proposal is aiming at the cutting edge of the state-of-the-art photonics, to create novel scientific and technological pathways for controlling the flow-of-light at the microscopic and macroscopic level.
Significance for science
Photonics is today indisputably worldwide recognized as one of the key scientific and technological fields of the future, with most recent examples of this major role being the International year of light 2015, EU Horizon 2020 recognition of photonics as a Key Enabling Technology, and 2014 Nobel prizes in physics and chemistry on the topics of light and light modulation. We are proposing an ambitious research project, which is at the top-edge of modern soft matter science and photonics, and may open profoundly different approaches to central photonic elements, including novel transformation-optics materials for optical cloaking, negative-index based optical switches, multi-frequency optical switches, and light modulators. The proposal will develop novel negative-index metamaterial fluids and demonstrate their photonic response. Of particular scientific relevance and conceptual advance will be questions on: (i) the relation between the symmetry of the structure and the metamaterial light response, (ii) 3D metamaterial optical anisotropy with possible double negative refraction, and (iii) hierarchical multi-scale design of metamaterials - which are all open and “hot” scientific question at the world level. The developed metamaterials will be fluid, flexible, polymerizable-if needed, and inherently tunable, which are material characteristics far beyond the current state-of-the-art of typically lithographically created rigid metamaterial structures. To our knowledge there is no other group that has the needed joint knowledge on the self-assembly of soft matter superstructures and emergent photonics –both experimental and theoretical-, to approach such conceptually novel topic. The project will be using state-of-the-art methodology, such as two-way coupled light and nematic field modelling, experimental Nanoscribe production of geometrical modalities, and jointly integrated optical setups with tunable continuum lasers, optical tweezers and spectrometry. To generalize, this proposal is aiming at the cutting edge of the state-of-the-art and future photonics, to create novel scientific and technological pathways for controlling the flow-of-light at the microscopic and macroscopic level.
Significance for the country
This project will have several multi-layered direct impacts for the society and economy, which are explained below: For human resources – students: We will use the ambitious objectives of the project to inspire excellence and creativity in collaborating students (graduate and undergraduate) which is a direct contribution to the growth of the people’s potential in Slovenia and also abroad. We believe that performing excellent research in Ljubljana, also in strong collaboration with foreign partners, will motivate students to decide to do their university studies in the field of science; exactly in accordance with the Slovenian and EU Developing higher education strategy [1]. Specifically, we will encourage and inspire participation of under-represented groups in the contents of the project (which for Slovenian society are firstly girls)   For social infrastructure of Slovenia as part of EU: There will be direct impact of our work on the social infrastructure, in particular on the quality of the related university level education and on the excellence of the contributing Slovenian research institutions. The senior (and also junior) members of our project group are generally involved in teaching various (undergraduate and graduate) courses and various other institutional dissemination activities (at the faculty and at the Josef Stefan Institute), being therefore directly able to contribute to the excellence of the institution.  As an indication of our commitment to scientific excellence, Ravnik (although a junior member of the academic staff) is selected member of the Committee for quality control of teaching, scientific and work praxis at the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics (University of Ljubljana). For explicit companies: In relation to this proposal, the directors of two key Slovenian photonics companies FOTONA d.d. and BALDER d.o.o. member of Kimberly-Clark were contacted, and here announce support to this proposal. The topic of the proposal is directly and indirectly related to the contents of their work and their economic and development strategy. This contact with companies could serve as a direct route for possible commercialisation of results that will emerge from the proposal. For economy of Slovenia and EU: Our work may result in the applications for patents from the field of soft metamaterials and photonics. Actually, on the topic of soft matter photonics we have established several interesting collaborations with Dutch and Italian groups that have interesting interactions with photonic companies in their countries. Dissemination: We will present our results to both scientific community and general public (in Slovenia and abroad) by writing scientific and general audience oriented publications, preparation of motivation video-clips and publishing in social-networks. Also, the project group members regularly give yearly public talks at Slovenian high-schools, which will be another direct way for the dissemination of the results.  [1] http://ec.europa.eu/education/lifelonglearningpolicy/doc/report08/higher_en.pdf
Most important scientific results Interim report, final report
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Interim report, final report
Views history
Favourite