In the last few decades there has been a growing excitement in the field of photonics, with interest ranging from topics in fundamental physics to those in applied physics and engineering. This is certainly due in part to a rapid development of tools and techniques for the manipulation, fabrication, and characterization of materials at a length scale below the micrometer, allowing for a more effective control of the generation, propagation, and confinement of light. The most exciting advances in photonics have relied on the control of light at the micro-­ and nano-­meter scale. And the best is certainly yet to come!

Classical and Quantum Nonlinear Optics

Traditional sources of nonclassical light require bulk optical elements that limit scalability beyond a research laboratory. Quantum photonics technologies would benefit from compact structures that can be integrated “on-chip”. Such structures allow for tighter light confinement than bulk crystals, leading to larger nonlinear responses, not to mention better scalability and integration with existing infrastructure. Many structures exist today that could potentially be used for the generation of nonclassical light. But just how efficient can these systems be? What is the limit to the enhancements to the performance of integrated devices ? How can we easily tailor the property of the generated light for specific applications? We try to answer these questions by developing theories able to describe quantum nonlinear processes in micro and nano-structures.

Light confinement

The control of light propagation and confinement is central in all applications involving the light–matter interaction, from classical and quantum transmission of information in optical fibers to the use of nano devices in fundamental science. In dielectric structures, light confinement is achieved by exploiting two different effects: total internal reflection at the interface with media having different refractive indices or interference, like in photonic crystal structures. Our research is focused on guiding (2D) and confining (3D) light, mainly using surface states in dielectric structures.
The structures we study and design are appealing to study of the light–matter interaction either at the fundamental level, for example in the strong-coupling regime of quantum-well or quantum-dots, or for applications, from integrated quantum optics to optical sensors. 

Optical sensing

The need for sensors in medical diagnostics has led to growing interest in the field of optical biosensors. These devices utilize optical techniques to detect and identify chemical or biological species. The interest in optical biosensors is motivated by several advantages, such as low cost, high sensitivity, high specificity, and the possibility of remote sensing and in vivo measurements. Optical biosensors can utilize a modification in the amplitude, phase, or frequency of an input beam in the detection mechanism. Thus there exist many different physical phenomena and detection schemes that can be exploited.  In our research we aim at enhancing the light-matter interactions using various micro and nano structures, including photonic crystal, in which a periodic modulation of the dielectric function on a scale comparable to that of the light wavelength of interest allows the control of light propagation and its confinement close to the diffraction limit. 

Funding and Collaborations 




Office 2-60

Department of Physics
University of Pavia
Via Bassi, 6
27100 Pavia, Italy
Phone +39 0382 987680
Skype marco.liscidini