The Fields and Optics (FO) area consists of 14 primary faculty (and 13 affiliated faculty) who study electromagnetic waves, both experimentally and theoretically. Such waves are ubiquitous, encompassing a broad range of phenomena encountered in many contexts including everyday life, from radio waves through optics and beyond. In the radio frequency domain, applications include cellular networks, radios, radar, remote controls, and integrated circuit design, as well as other forms of wireless communication and sensing. In the optical domain, applications include lasers, light emitting diodes, fiber optics for long-haul telecommunications, smartphone cameras, medical sensing, photovoltaics and other forms of renewable energy, nano and quantum photonics, photonic materials, manufacturing and quality control, telescopes, microscopes, and many more. The work of the FO area is also expected to play an important role in future technologies, such as 5G, quantum information, quantum computing, autonomous vehicles, videophones, and portable medical sensors..
Fields and optics research takes place in several laboratories.
- The Microwave Laboratory facilitates research on microwave devices, microwave photonics, waveguides, antennas, and scattering. The laboratory provides measurement coverage up to 40 GHz, but some instruments reach to the higher millimeter-wave frequencies.
- The Magnetics Laboratory contains facilities for performing optical and magnetic measurements. Instrumentation includes polarizing microscopes for magneto-optic observations, continuous and pulsed light sources, and electronic drive circuitry for application of magnetic fields over a wide range of frequencies.
- The Adaptive Radio Electronics and Sensors is focused on state-of-the-art research programs on microwave semiconductor devices, RF MEMS/NEMS, wireless sensors, energy harvesting, wireless power transfer, antennas and antenna arrays, optical diffusion imaging, and high-speed interconnects. The laboratory provides measurement coverage up to 110 GHz. Part of the lab is located in the Birck Nanotechnology Center and is integrated with its world-class fabrication and characterization capabilities.
- Advanced research in nonlinear optics, multi-photon processes, fiber and integrated optical devices, and laser characterization takes place in the Modern Optics Research Laboratory. Laser systems that generate coherent tunable radiation provide the means for the investigation of a variety of optical phenomena.
- The Ultrafast Optics and Fiber Communications Laboratory is a world leader in broadband and ultrashort pulse photonic signal processing. Research includes broadband arbitrary waveform generation, generation of optical frequency combs, transmission of short pulse signals through optical fibers, and hybrid photonic & radio-frequency systems in which photonics aids in the generation, transmission, and reception of ultrabroadband wireless signals. Additional efforts focus on nonlinear optics in microresonators, novel applications of photonic integrated circuits, and manipulation of broadband correlated photons for quantum communications.
- In the Nanophotonics & Spectroscopy Lab located in Birck Nanotechnology Center, we study light-matter interactions at the nanoscale both in free space and on-chip. In addition to the world-class fabrication and experimental facilities provided through Birck Nano Center, the Nanophotonics lab is equipped with a tunable femtosecond laser source, white light laser, near field scanning optical microscope, variable angle spectroscopic ellipsometer, and Raman microscope among others.
- At the Photovoltaics Laboratory located in Birck Nanotechnology Center, researchers are modeling, fabricating, and characterizing the effects of new nanostructures on the absorption and thermal emission of light, which affects the efficiency and cost of energy conversion technologies.
- The Purdue Quantum Center is a collaborative lab encompassing several faculty members across ECE and Physics, and is located in the Birck Nanotechnology Center. Research study both fundamental and applied quantum science such as cavity quantum electrodynamics, atomic/molecular/optical (AMO) physics, and quantum photonics. The PQC, launched in 2015, is one of Purdue Engineering’s preeminent research areas and is rapidly expanding already outstanding facilities and equipment to unlock and study new quantum effects/devices.
- The Optical Imaging Laboratories in the EE and MSEE buildings investigate fundamental coherent and incoherent phenomena related to the development of new imaging methods with an emphasis on frontier scientific applications, including in vivo molecular information and high resolution imaging, to address key issues in human health. More generally, this research relates to communication, sensing an imaging in the presence of scatter.
- The Nanophotonics Group in EE works on the interaction of light with materials at small length scales and related device concepts, the achievements of new materials with important attributes, and fundamental and applied aspects of optical forces.
- The On-Chip Electromagnetics Lab focuses on the fundamental research of the science of Computational Electromagnetics, Multi-physics modeling and simulation, and their important applications in the design of next generation integrated circuits and systems, and other advanced engineering systems in the full electromagnetic spectrum.
- The Electrodynamics.Org Research Labs (ERL) is a theory-driven consortium of experimental groups. The research work exploits classical and quantum electrodynamic theory to advance our understanding of vacuum fluctuations, thermal radiation, topological phases of matter and spin properties of the photon. The labs explore noisy electromagnetic signals coupled to matter using single photon detectors, ultrafast pump-probe laser spectroscopy, high temperature infrared thermal emission spectroscopy and quantum sensors built with spin qubits.