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Light waves in crystals, structured media and metamaterials

Total activity: 30
Type of activity
Competitive project
Funding entity
Funding entity code
142.296,00 €
Start date
End date
This research project aims to study from both a theoretical and an experimental point of view fundamental issues of wave dynamics in
media where the physical constants show a spatial modulation occurring at dimensions at the wavelength scale, as in photonic or sonic
crystals or smaller than the wavelength, as in metamaterials. Our research focuses on the propagation, reflections, spatio-temporal
dynamics, and fluctuation properties of optical and acoustical waves subjected to the spatial modulation of the environment where they
propagate, specifically when the modulation is periodic, or nearly periodic (deterministically or randomly perturbed) in space. Especial
focus is laid on nonlinear propagation properties in such materials: the nonlinearities (gain, self-focusing, saturation) bring many new
novelties and surprises to the usual linear wave dynamics in such modulated materials.
The objectives and tasks of our project, are twofold: one part of them address the fundamental issues, which intend to advance in the
understanding of propagation of waves, beams and patterns in the modulated and nonlinear media; the others address the search for
applications of the newly discovered and explored spatial propagation effects in optics and acoustics.
Most of the physical phenomena proposed in this project are multidisciplinary and can be applied both to optics (electromagnetic waves)
and acoustics (mechanical waves) since it deals with two principal common ingredients: waves (beams) and spatially modulated
potentials. Our results can also be extended to any sort of waves (atomic wave-packets, surface waves, polariton waves, or even electron
waves) in periodically and nearly-periodically modulated media. In fact we also start a new research direction on a new kind of waves the
terahertz ones, which are electromagnetic waves in nature, but with wavelength more similar to those of sound waves.
The groups involved in this project have a complementary expertise: in optics (Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya - UPC) and in
acoustics (Universidad Politécnica de Valencia - UPV), which clearly benefits the consecution of the proposed objectives through a close
collaboration between them. These objectives, common for optical and acoustical systems, are: (1) Light and sound beam management in
complex meta-structures, (2) Gain, absorption and damping in complex metamaterials, (3) nonlinearities in photonic and phononic crystals
and (4) Quasi periodic and random photonic media. Only few sub-objectives are to be considered separately by optics and acoustic
Within this general framework, our sub-project covers the theoretical and experimental study of different aspects, all arising from the
interaction of light with spatially modulated materials, like effects of beam shaping during propagation through axisymmetric structures,
focalization effects in reflection or transmission in modulated materials with flat surfaces, controlling the beam profile of semiconductor
lasers, suppression of modulation instabilities using periodic media, ultrashort pulse characterization using media with random distribution
of the nonlinearity, laser writing of domains in photorefractive crystals or enhancement of absorption in chirped crystals.
The theoretical part will be coordinated by IP1 of the subproject while the IP2 will be responsible of the experimental part.
acoustics, acústica, cristales fotónicos, fotónica, materiales modulados espacialmente, metamateriales, metamaterials, nonlinear optics, optics, photonic crystals, photonics, spatially modulated structures, óptica, óptica no lineal
Adm. Estat
Plan Estatal de Investigación Científica y Técnica y de Innovación 2013-2016
Resoluton year
Funcding program
Programa Estatal de Fomento de la Investigación Científica y Técnica de Excelencia
Funding subprogram
Subprograma Estatal de Generación de Conocimiento
Funding call
Excelencia: Proyectos I+D
Grant institution
Gobierno De España. Ministerio De Economía Y Competitividad, Mineco


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