Physical Review Research has published the results of a study by scientists from the Department of Physics

The article of a second-year graduate physics student Tilek Zhumabek “Capturing light by arbitrarily thin cavities” was published in the Physical Review Research journal, published by the American Physical Society since 1893. In the article, the author, together with Professor Valagiannopoulos, theoretically investigates the absorption of light by artificial materials structured in nanometer scale.

The aim of the study was to test various base materials such as gold, platinum, aluminum, copper, silver, and find the optimal parameters of ultra-thin materials to achieve ideal absorption in the most broadband operation. Thus, the authors are trying to create materials that can capture all the incoming solar energy. The study found that aluminum showed the highest resistance to manufacturing defects, while platinum showed the worst performance.

In their study, the authors of the article used analytical and numerical methods to predict the most promising photonic nanomaterials for future devices requiring design, with artificial intelligence elements, which can have a wide range of applications in the field of thermal conversion, optical sensing, light modulation, and detection.

“We identify simple layered structures capable of capturing light, no matter how thin they are. The effective length of the beam path into the film increases indefinitely due to the correct inclination of the optical axis, and thus the incident wave is forced to be reflected for an infinitely long time between the layers with losses before leaving the cavity. Our developments can be used in a wide range of optical devices, from photovoltaic cells and photonic circuits to photonic signal processors and smartphones,” said Professor Valagiannopoulos.