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Miao Yu wins NSF grant to develop planar photonic crystals

ISR-affiliated Associate Professor Miao Yu (ME) is the principal investigator for a three-year, $400K National Science Foundation grant, “Planar photonic crystals for ultra-broadband ultrasound detection and generation.”

Ultrasound plays an important role in many applications, including health care (e.g., clinical diagnostics, medical therapy, and surgery) and industrial monitoring (e.g., non-destructive detection and material characterization). In all these applications, transducers are critically needed for detection and generation of ultrasound. However, the current ultrasonic transducers are limited in detectability, spatial resolution, and bandwidth, which seriously hinder the performance of existing ultrasonic techniques. This award will support fundamental research on novel artificially designed low-dimensional periodic photonic structures (i.e., planar photonic crystals) for ultrasound detection and generation. This work is expected to open up new avenues for the development of novel ultrasound transducers, which can potentially overcome the fundamental limitations encountered with conventional ultrasonic technologies. Various disciplines including physics, material science, and medicine are expected to benefit from different facets of the proposed research. This award is expected to help create a new generation of students equipped with knowledge of emerging technologies in nanophotonics and advanced materials. In addition, this award will also help broaden the participation of underrepresented groups in research and enrich the learning experience of students with innovative projects in an interdisciplinary curriculum integrated with the research findings.

Through combined analytical, numerical, and experimental studies, the overall goal of this work is to achieve a fundamental understanding of the photonic-acoustic responses and slow light effect in planar photonic crystals (PPCs), and to use this understanding to develop novel PPC based transducers with significantly enhanced performance and capabilities for ultrasound detection and generation. This research is expected to enrich the knowledge in the growing field of nanophotonics and lead to new methodologies for ultrasound detection and generation with PPCs. The unique properties of PPCs, including high quality factor (Q-factor) resonance, multimode photo-mechanical response, and immunity to thermal interference, will be investigated. These properties give PPCs a clear advantage over existing ultrasonic sensors for ultrasound detection. The award will lead to the development of a new class of PPC based ultrasonic sensors with capabilities of ultra-broadband detection, high sensitivity, and high spatial-resolution. Furthermore, the slow light effect in PPCs for enhancing light-matter interactions will be investigated; this will enable the development of novel PPC based ultrasound generators with significantly enhanced energy transfer efficiency. In addition, this award is expected to lead to the development of a novel optical fiber based nano-imprinting technique, for enabling scalable, inexpensive, and high-precision batch fabrication of on-fiber PPC devices and on-chip PPC arrays.

Related Articles:
Yu Named ASME Fellow
Miao Yu named Maryland Robotics Center director
Miao Yu promoted to full professor
New AFOSR NIFTI Center features eight Clark School faculty
Students present final projects for 2014 NSF Microrobotics REU
Bruck, Smela, Yu receive NSF grant for compliant multifunctional robotic structures
REU in Miniature Robotics holds final project symposium
Miao Yu selected for NAE Frontiers of Engineering Symposium
Miao Yu wins NSF grant for fiber optic tweezers

June 1, 2015


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