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Research at St Andrews

Michael Mazilu


Michael Mazilu
Postal address:
School of Physics & Astronomy
Physical Science Building
North Haugh
St Andrews
United Kingdom


Web address:

Direct phone: +44 (0)1334 463210

Research overview

Dr Mazilu has pioneered a novel way to describe general light-matter interactions.  This approach is best understood as a natural decomposition of the light field into independent non-interfering partial fields, which I term Optical Eigenmodes (OEi). The aim of his research is to create new theoretical tools and to deliver a profound and insightful understanding of the photonic modes within the general context of modern applied optics. The plan is to develop the OEi approach into an advanced photonic tool applicable to a range of problems in the fields of optics, imaging, optical manipulation, plasmonics, cavity opto-mechanics, quantum optics, ultra-fast photonics, and non-linear optics.

The optical eigenmode method offers a new approach to numerical computation of photonic interactions. In effect, this approach allows the description of the light field as a superposition of orthogonal solutions specifically calculated for each device and for each interaction, eg. momentum transfer, coupling or absorption. This description greatly simplifies the way we understand any given interaction. Numerically, these eigenmodes can be calculated directly, enabling a quick and insightful visualisation of all fundamental interaction between any photonic object and the electromagnetic field, without having to consider specific illumination or boundary conditions. In effect, every possible interaction is defined by its eigenmodes. The strength of the interaction is determined by the overlap with the emission eigenmodes. For example, consider the momentum eigenmodes of a prism shaped microparticle. Here, using the OEi method, we can numerically determine the beam profile delivering the best tractor beam (a beam that pulls the microparticle towards the source). The vision is to expand this approach to a larger number of cases and ultimately develop a generic numerical toolbox that can be used for photonic interaction modeling, medical spectroscopy and photonic micro-fabrication design.

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