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https://www.nwo-i.nl/nwo-domein-enw/onderzoeksprogrammas/vrije-programmas/nr-138-stirring-of-light/

Geprint op :
17 december 2018
19:42:41

Approved FOM programme

Number 138.
Title Stirring of light! (SOL)
Executive organisational unit BUW
Programme management Prof.dr. W.L. Vos 
Duration 2012-2017
Cost estimate M€ 2.1

Objectives
We aim to literally 'stir' light inside nanophotonic media. As a result, we can address the challenge: How can input light be absorbed as efficiently as possible in order to be converted to targeted forms of energy? These forms include electric power from a solar cell, or many colors in white-light illumination.

Background, relevance and implementation
n this FOM programme, we propose a radical departure from two traditional viewpoints in optics. First, scattering of light is traditionally considered to be a nuisance since it prevents us from looking straight through a window covered with dust. Recently, however, it has been realized that scattering of light is rather a great advantage. For example, our team has demon­strated that light can be focused much tighter with an intricate lens made of scattering material than with a usual transparent lens. Secondly, optical absorption is traditionally considered such a nuisance that any scientist in the field tries to avoid it. This aversion of absorption is understandable since nanophotonic media are designed to have photons scatter many times – as if they were pinballs - and thus absorption amounts to destroying of photons: 'game over!' Recently, however, it has been realized that optical absorption can be strongly manipulated – either enhanced or reduced – by controlling the incident light fields.

In order to radically depart from these two limiting traditions, we aim to literally 'stir' light inside nanophotonic media. As a result, we can address the challenge: How can input light be absorbed as efficiently as possible in order to be converted to targeted forms of energy? These forms include electric power from a solar cell, or many colors in white-light illumination.

We propose to fundamentally study and manipulate the optical phase space density for light – as it were 'stirring of light' through phase space – by combining in-sights gained from optical wavefront shaping with advanced structures made by colloidal self-assembly. As a result, we will be able to convert photons as efficiently as possible to other targeted forms of energy such as electric power, or transfer the energy of light to a different color. We wish to apply these concepts to realize a technology push for real devices such as solar cells, LEDs and broadband sources. Therefore we have assembled a team of fundamental and applied researchers from AMOLF, Delft, Eindhoven, Twente, Utrecht, including experimentalists and theorists, as well as researchers with a part-time industry affiliation.

Remarks
The final evaluation of this programme will consist of a self-evaluation initiated by the programme leader and is foreseen for 2017.

Please find a research highlight that was achieved in 2014 within this FOM programme here.