There is always an imperative need for scalable, environment-friendly production and synthesis of nanoscale photonic materials for a variety of biomedical, energy harvesting, and quantum computing applications. In particular, recent experiments have revealed that light waves can be localized in the same manner of Nobel Prize winner Philip W. Anderson’s theory (i.e. disorder-induced strong scattering can result in a complete halt of electron transport in solid state physics1). Counterintuitively, partially irregular nanostructures, compared with perfectly ordered nanostructures, can provide unique advantages of enhanced light confinement, transport, and amplification (also known as random lasers), if light in such media is localized or confined spatially.

From a nanomaterial standpoint, all experimental realizations for Anderson light localization require densely assembled nanostructures or highly packed waveguides using extremely high-refractive-index materials. It is well known that typical biological and natural materials and structures are intrinsically limited for strong light scattering as light is freely diffusing in such media, although the spatial distributions of dielectric biomacromolecules in tissue are highly inhomogeneous. In this respect, we have conceived the idea of obtaining all-natural innocuous (even biocompatible) optical nanomaterials for light localization near or in the Anderson regime, while possibly scaling up to flexible or wearable devices and producing large quantities in an eco-friendly manner.

Relevant Publications:

S.H. Choi, K.M. Byun, and Y.L. Kim, "Excitation of multiple resonances in 1D Anderson localized systems for efficient light amplification,” Opt. Lett. 40(5), 847-850 (2015)

S.H. Choi and Y.L. Kim, "Hybridized/coupled multiple resonances in nacre," Phys. Rev. B 89(3), 035115 (2014).