Mid-IR to Thz Polaritons: Realizing Novel Materials for Nanophotonics

Mid-IR to Thz Polaritons: Realizing Novel Materials for Nanophotonics


  • Joshua D. Caldwell, US Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, DC
October 6, 2017 - 1:00pm to 2:00pm


The field of nanophotonics is based on the ability to confine light to sub-diffractional dimensions. Up until recently, research in this field has been primarily focused on the use of plasmonic metals. However, the high optical losses inherent in such metal-based surface plasmon materials has led to an ever-expanding effort to identify, low-loss alternative materials capable of supporting sub-diffractional confinement. Beyond this, the limited availability of high-efficiency optical sources and refractive and compact optics in the mid-infrared to THz spectral regions make nanophotonic advancements imperative. Polar dielectric crystals present a highly promising alternative whereby sub-diffraction confinement of light can be achieved through the stimulation of surface phonon polaritons within an all-dielectric and thus low-loss material system. Due to the wide array of high-quality crystalline species and varied crystal structures, a wealth of unanticipated optical properties have recently been reported. In this talk I will discuss recent advancements from our group, including the realization of localized phonon polariton modes and the observation and exploitation of the natural hyperbolic response of hexagonal boron nitride. Methods to improve the material lifetime, realize active modulation, and induce additional functionality through isotopic enrichment and hybridization of optical modes will also be presented.

Additional Information 

About the Speaker:

 Dr. Joshua Caldwell accepted a postdoctoral fellowship at the Naval Research Laboratory, using optical spectroscopy as a means of understanding defects within wide-band gap semiconductors. He was transitioned to permanent staff in 2007, where he began work in the field of nanophotonics, investigating coupling phenomena within plasmonic materials. More recently, Dr. Caldwell merged his prior work in wide band gap semiconductor materials with his efforts in nanophotonics, leading to his efforts to use undoped, polar dielectric crystals for low-loss, sub-diffraction optics.

Sponsoring Organization 

Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences


  • SNS Central Laboratory and Office Building
  • Building: 8600
  • Room: C-156

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