Photonics – the science of light – is pervasive. Light generation, manipulation, interaction with matter, and detection are key to photonics research. The proposed training program straddles over different interfaces; experimental and computational photonics, ultrafast photonics and laser spectroscopy, nano-biophotonics, and material processing with light on nano- and micron dimensions.
Extreme photonics, enabled by advances in laser technology, can lead to the development of:
(i) Novel photonic devices: laser-induced structures in-fibre for sensing (bio-chemical and mechanical), devices and tunable lasers, light manipulation, metal-dielectric (plasmonic) structures for sensing (biochemical) and processing light, and semiconductor nanostructures to harness light energy.
(ii) Novel light sources: generation of XUV light for lithography and molecular spectroscopy, and single photon sources based on quantum well structures.
(iii) Materials processing tools: nano- and micro-machining of hard and soft matter, nanoscale structuring of biomaterials including tissues for better integration with native environments, and efficient laser surgery (for example on the eye) with faster heeling times.
(iv) Control of chemical and biological processes: understanding ultrafast dynamics in photo-initiated molecules using short temporal probes to control chemical and biological processes.
(v) New imaging tools: combining laser pulses with small metal particles to control light at the nanoscale and to improve image resolution, and using XUV pulses to image biological systems.
(vi) High precision instrumentation: through nonlinear effects to improve the spatial resolution of the distributed sensors with fibers for structural and communication cable monitoring.
We therefore envision the proposed training to be truly interdisciplinary in nature, as research in extreme photonics requires a concerted effort by physicists, chemists, biologists, engineers and medical researchers to advance the science and develop new technologies.