Optical microcavites and cavity quantum electrodynamics

Improved control over the interaction between light and matter has been a driving force of technology since the invention of the laser in the 1960s. The strongest interactions (and most interesting physics) are observed when both photons and electrons are confined to small physical volumes. By placing photonic nanomaterials into optical microcavities we can modify the 'internal' electronic properties of the materials and observe changes in their behaviour which can be exploited for a wide range of applications from IT to healthcare and security.

schematic of cavity QED
Fig.1 Schematic of an 'open access' optical cavity.

A recent highlight of our research is the development of tunable 'open access' microcavities with femtolitre (10-15 litre) mode volumes and quality factors in excess of 104. These microcavities allow precise control of the alignment to a nano-object for detailed study of the changing properties. By fabricating large arrays of the microcavities we also aim to develop high throughput sensing techniques for the chemical and biological sciences.

Cavity transmission large cavity transmission narrow Cavity array
Fig 2: (left and middle) optical transmission spectra for our tunable microcavities, and (right) large arrays of microcavity structures, each of 8 micrometres diameter.

Recent publications and presentations

S. Dufferwiel, F. Fras, A. Trichet, P. M. Walker, F. Li, L. Giriunas, M. N. Makhonin, L. R. Wilson, J. M. Smith, E. Clarke, M. S. Skolnick and D. N. Krizhanovskii, Strong exciton-photon coupling in open semiconductor microcavities, Appl. Phys. Lett. 104, 192107 (2014).

C. M. Rushworth, J. Davies, J. T. Cabral, P. R. Dolan, J. M. Smith, and C. Vallance, Cavity-enhanced optical methods for online microfluidic analysis, Chem. Phys. Lett. 554, 1 (2012)

Z. Y. Di, H. V. Jones, P. R. Dolan, S. M. Fairclough, M. B. Wincott, J. Fill, G. M. Hughes, and J. M. Smith, Controlling the emission from semiconductor quantum dots using ultra-small tunable optical microcavities, New J. Phys. 14, 103048 (2012).

Philip R Dolan, Zi Yun Di, Helene V Jones, Simon M Fairclough, Jason M Smith, Coupling colloidal semiconductor quantum dots to novel, arrayed, tunable microcavities, 7th International conference on quantum dots, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA, May 13 - May 18, 2012.

Zi Yun Di, Philip R. Dolan, Helene V. Jones, Gareth M. Hughes, and Jason M. Smith, Single mode tunable optical microcavities, CLEO: Science and Innovations, San Jose, California, May 6, 2012.

Philip R. Dolan, Helene Jones, Ziyun Di, and Jason M. Smith, New open access microcavities for engineering the light-matter interaction, Villa Conference on Optoelectronic Materials and Devices, Orlando, Florida, April 16-20, 2012.

P. R. Dolan and J. M. Smith, Placing diamond colour centres into tunable optical microcavities, SBDD XVI, Hasselt, Belgium, February 21-23, 2011.

P. R. Dolan, G. M. Hughes, F. Grazioso, B. R. Patton, and J. M. Smith, Femtoliter tunable optical cavity arrays, Optics Lett. 35, 3556 (2010).

P. R. Dolan, B. R. Patton, and J M Smith Construction and analysis of arrayed, tuneable optical microcavities, Photon 10, Southampton, UK, August 24-27, 2010.

B. R. Patton, P. R. Dolan, F. Grazioso, J. M. Smith, B. Fairchild, P. Olivero, A. Greentree, and S. Prawer, Diamond microstructures for optical cavity based devices, DeBeers Diamond Conference, Warwick University, June 30, 2009.