> Kik Group College of Optics and Photonics UCF
Platinum test patterns made using UCF's Focused Ion Beam facility. The smallest structures shown are ~200nm wide.


The research in the group is centered around optics at the nanoscale. The work is broadly divided into two main directions: metal nanophotonics and semiconductor nanophotonics.

Surface Plasmon Nanophotonics

This field thrives due to the special optical properties of metals that allow for the construction of unusual optical devices. In particular the presence of a high concentration of free electrons allows for the occurrence of collective electron oscillations, known as plasmons. This type of electron oscillation can be used to construct metal nanostructures that act as miniature waveguides (see for example this article) with a mode confinement much smaller than the diffraction limit. Our group is involved in the design, fabrication, and analysis of such plasmon based structures. For an introduction to plasmonics have a look at a brief article on Surface Plasmon Nanophotonics at CREOL that was published in the CREOL Highlights Newsletter. For a list of some of the specialized equipment we use, have a look in our lab, and for more detailed information on recent work, have a look at our publications.


Semiconductor nanophotonics

The basis of this branch of research is a phenomenon known as quantum confinement, related to the wave-like nature of matter. Thanks to quantum confinement we can tune the optical properties of semiconductors by tailoring their size and shape at the nanoscale. For example, silicon nanoparticles with a diameter of a few nanometers can emit light in the visible range, despite the fact that the bandgap of bulk silicon lies at 1.1 eV corresponding to an emission wavelength in the near-infrared. In addition to the dramatic effects on the optical properties of the nanoparticles, quantum confinement also allows for the tuning of the interaction between semiconductors and optical dopants such as the rare-earth ions. An example of these effects can be found in this article.