Photonic Band Gap Materials: Light Trapping Crystals
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Photonic band gap (PBG) materials are artificial periodic dielectric
microstructures capable of trapping light in three-dimensions on sub-wavelength scales
without absorption loss. This offers new opportunities for efficient solar energy trapping and
harvesting in suitably microstructured thin films. It also enables virtually complete control of the
flow of light on microscopic scales in a 3D optical chip as well as very strong coupling of light
to matter where desired. By further engineering the electromagnetic density of states within
the chip it is possible to realize unprecedented coherent optical control of the quantum state
of resonant atoms or quantum dots. This defines a fundamentally new strong-coupling regime
for quantum optics. It enables multiple-wavelength channel optical logic to be performed on
a chip on picosecond time scales at microwatt power levels. Dr. Sajeev John discusses further
consequences of light trapping in classical and quantum electrodynamics. He also discuss the
challenges and requirements for materials fabrication to realize these remarkable effects.
Sajeev John is a “University Professor” at the
University of Toronto and Government of Canada
Research Chair. He received his Bachelors degree
in physics in 1979 from the Massachusetts Institute
of Technology and his Ph.D. in physics at Harvard
University in 1984. His Ph.D. work at Harvard originated
the theory of classical wave localization and in
particular the localization of light in three-dimensional
strongly scattering dielectrics. From 1986-1989 he
was an assistant professor of physics at Princeton
University. While at Princeton, he co-invented (1987)
the concept of photonic band gap materials, providing
a systematic route to his original conception (1984) of
the localization of light. In 1989 he joined the senior
faculty at the University of Toronto.
Prof. John is the winner of the 2001 King Faisal
International Prize in Science, together with C. N. Yang.
He is the first ever winner of Canada’s Platinum Medal
for Science and Medicine in 2002 and the Brockhouse
Canada Prize for Interdisciplinary Research in 2004.
He as also received the Guggenheim Fellowship (USA)
and the Humboldt Senior Scientist Award of Germany.
Dr. John received the IEEE Quantum Electronics Award
in 2007 for “the invention and development of lighttrapping
crystals and elucidation of their properties
and applications” and the 2008 IEEE Nanotechnology
Pioneer Award. He was also awarded the C.V. Raman
Chair Professorship of the Indian Academy of Sciences.
He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, the Royal
Society of Canada, and the Optical Society of America.