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NEXCENTRIC: Next-generation on-chip supercontinuum light sources based on graphene-enabled extreme nonlinear optics

Nonlinear optics is the scientific discipline where light and matter interact with each other in a nonlinear manner e.g. to create new wavelengths. To develop compact nonlinear-optical devices that could be widely used in telecom, biomedical imaging and other application domains, it is a natural strategy to fabricate these devices out of photonic chips as these contain nanoscale waveguides where the nonlinear interaction between light and matter can be made very intense. Yet, the state-of-the-art on-chip nonlinear-optical devices are not yet suitable for widespread deployment as most of them are pumped with impractical pump lasers and/or rely on non-standard waveguide designs which cannot be manufactured in large volumes.

In the ERC NEXCENTRIC project coordinated by B-PHOT researcher Nathalie Vermeulen, it has been our aim to develop on-chip nonlinear-optical devices made of standard waveguide designs and pumped with practical near-infrared lasers, while at the same time enabling unprecedented device performances so that a wide range of new wavelengths could be created and so-called supercontinuum generation could be achieved. To make this possible, we introduced the nonlinear two-dimensional material of graphene as cover layer on top of the standard waveguides.

Our NEXCENTRIC research results have been published in high-impact journals such as Nature Communications, and have impacted both fundamental graphene science and integrated nonlinear optics research while also opening up new routes for widely deployable on-chip supercontinuum light sources.

01/10/2013 - 31/03/2019

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This project is linked to the B-PHOT research tracks: