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Physics colloquium-“Photons, Plasmons, & Polaritons: Optical Phenomena in Complex Materials”

September 8, 2020 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Stephanie Law

University of Delaware, Dept. of Materials Science & Engineering

Abstract: When light interacts with complex materials, it can give rise to a variety of interesting phenomena. In this talk, I will first give a short explanation of how light interacts with materials. This will include a discussion of plasmon polaritons, a type of quasiparticle that arises from the strong interaction of a photon with the electrons in a material. Plasmon polaritons can be used for a variety of applications including focusing and imaging below the diffraction limit of light, subdiffraction waveguiding, gas sensing, and many more. I will discuss our work on exciting and coupling plasmon polaritons in topological insulator thin films and layered structures. Topological insulators have two-dimensional surface states that house massless electrons. The plasmon polaritons in these materials therefore show unusual properties. I will discuss the dispersion of these modes and show record high mode indices and extremely long polariton lifetimes. I will close by discussing our work on semiconductor hyperbolic metamaterials. These materials act optically metallic in one direction and transparent in the other direction. I will show our work demonstrating negative refraction (bending light backward) in these materials as well as their ability to house their own complex plasmon polariton modes.

All lectures are via Zoom.
If you would like to be invited to attend the colloquium via Zoom, please contact Dan Adams (, Serena Eley (, or Barbara Shellenberger ( for the link.


September 8, 2020
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
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