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Elastic photonics: shaping light with artificial muscles.

Zanotto S.
  Mercoledì 28/09   16:30 - 19:00   Edificio Psicologia 2 - Aula 2B   II - Fisica della materia
The ability to tune the response of a photonic component has evident and far-reaching consequences. In the latest years a significant effort has been spent in this direction, by looking at materials, structures, and strategies which enable to efficiently modulate the response of all the building blocks in photonics. Nevertheless, there are some situations which are still lacking an efficient solution. For instance, there are only a few techniques which allow to perform a wideband and effective all-optical tuning of diffraction gratings, resonant filters, photonic crystals, metamaterials. We have developed a strategy which approaches this problem relying on an innovative material, the liquid crystalline elastomer (LCE), structured on a submicrometric scale by the direct laser writing (DLW) technique. LCE are materials also known as artificial muscles, since they have the unique property of contracting significantly 10 or even 20% -- upon light excitation. In this talk we will review the work done so far by our research group, after contextualising within the flourishing research field of active and tunable photonics.