Designing Mutable Metamaterials with Photo-Adaptive Meta-Atoms

Project Personnel

M. Ravi Shankar

Principal Investigator

University of Pittsburgh

Email

Hae Young Noh

Carnegie Mellon University

Email

Mark Brongersma

Stanford University

Email

Kaushik Dayal

Carnegie Mellon University

Email

Robert Lipton

Louisiana State University

Email

Funding Divisions

Civil, Mechanical and Manufacturing Innovation (CMMI), Division of Materials Research (DMR), Division of Mathematical Sciences (DMS)

This research seeks to solve a fundamental challenge in powering active optical metamaterials, in particular the ability to couple actinic energy and direct mechanical adaptation at the nano-scale, meta-atom by meta-atom. The PIs will test that hypothesis that optimizing the topology of plasmonic structures which reside on photoactive, nanostructured polymers can allow coupling of photons from a pump beam into photochromic switches embedded in an ordered macromolecular network. When a resonant mode coincides with the absorption of the photoswitches, fully reversible changes in the macromolecular order can generate large strains (>10%) in the polymer. In turn, this actuation back-couples into a structural adaptation of the meta-atom resident on the polymer. The ability to utilize a pump to structurally modulate a metamaterial then becomes a vehicle to manipulate a probe beam of a different wavelength (with which the meta-atoms are multiresonant) with near-unity changes in the scattering amplitude and with phase control. Photo-adaptive metamaterials capable of device-level optical manipulation become possible. An array of outreach efforts is planned to magnify the broader impact of the work. Dissemination via publications will be augmented with a focus on open-source distribution of the simulation software and online tutorials on fabrication and processing.