Research in photonics at the Wyant College of Optical Sciences ranges in scope from fundamentally new tools, such as small-footprint, high-throughput multiphoton microscopes, through exceptionally high-power semiconductor lasers, to components and systems for next-generation optical networks for both the Internet and data centers, and into consumer equipment like 3-D displays. New areas are constantly explored by our nine faculty in the specialty, as photonics becomes more pervasive in our lives. Communications, displays, medicine, manufacturing and imaging are just a few applications.
The re-writable hologram of Albert Einstein shown as a 2-D figure was created with state-of-the-art technology developed by our group. Professor Masud Mansuripur, provoked considerable controversy by reminding the physics community that the commonly used Lorentz force law for charged particle motion is not relativistically invariant when applied to magnetic materials in the presence of an electric field; the suggested remedy is to return to an alternative force law proposed by Albert Einstein in 1908.
1) FLOWER is After Ovarian Cancer Detection
Prof. Judy Su’s work into FLOWER (frequency locked optical whispering evanescent resonator) is unlocking new possibilities for early detection of ovarian cancer before symptoms have even presented—meaning that many women can begin to receive treatment before the cancer has become severe. In Su’s recent paper, “An Integrated Approach to Protein Discovery and Detection From Complex Biofluids” Prof. Su discusses how the technology can sample items from the vaginal environment (a tampon, even) to detect proximal sources for tumor detection. This enables a proactive method for identifying ovarian cancer in patients with little to no risk—something that has the potential to become part of standard health tests that is less invasive than a pap smear.
2) Point-of-care SARS-CoV-2 sensing using lens-free imaging and a deep learning-assisted quantitative agglutination assay
The persistence of the global COVID-19 pandemic caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus has continued to emphasize the need for point-of-care (POC) diagnostic tests for viral diagnosis. The most widely used tests, lateral flow assays used in rapid antigen tests, and reverse-transcriptase real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), have been instrumental in mitigating the impact of new waves of the pandemic, but fail to provide both sensitive and rapid readout to patients. Here, we present a portable lens-free imaging system coupled with a particle agglutination assay as a novel biosensor for SARS-CoV-2. This sensor images and quantifies individual microbeads undergoing agglutination through a combination of computational imaging and deep learning as a way to detect levels of SARS-CoV-2 in a complex sample.
3) Multiplexed Quantum Repeaters Based on Dual-Species Trapped-Ion Systems
A recent paper was published in the APS Physical Review A by the Guha lab, associated with the Center for Quantum Networks, and was selected as an Editor's Suggestion. The work was funded on the NSF Convergence Accelerator program in collaboration with University of Maryland. The paper discusses trapped-ion based quantum repeaters and was led by Wyant College Ph.D. student, Prajit Dhara, advised by Dr. Saikat Guha and co-advised by Dr. Kaushik Seshadreesan, Assistant Professor at Univ. of Pittsburg.
4) High Refractive Index Chalcogenide Hybrid Inorganic/ Organic Polymers for Integrated Photonics
Optical polymer-based integrated photonic devices are gaining interest for
applications in optical packaging, biosensing, and augmented/virtual reality
(AR/VR). The low refractive index of conventional organic polymers has
been a barrier to realizing dense, low footprint photonic devices. The fabrication and characterization of integrated photonic devices using a new class of high refractive index polymers, chalcogenide hybrid inorganic/organic
polymers (CHIPs), which possess high refractive indices and lower optical
losses compared to traditional hydrocarbon-based polymers, are reported.
5) Holographic Curved Waveguide Combiner for HUD/AR with 1-D Pupil Expansion
Dr. Pierre-Alexandre Blanche and OSC alumnus, Craig Draper, present optical ray tracing as well as an experimental prototype of a curved waveguide combiner with pupil expansion for augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR) glasses. The curved waveguide combiner takes advantage of holographic optical elements both for injection and extraction of the image to correct the aberrations introduced during the propagation of light inside the waveguide.