Photonic Crystal Research at Argonne National Lab
This past year, Loyola Physics seniors Daniel Bafia and Stephen Londo conducted research with Argonne National Laboratory scientist and Loyola alumnus Dr. Chad Husko. Dr. Husko returned in 2015 from an overseas research position at the University of Sydney, Australia and was motivated to get involved with the Loyola community.
“Dr. Husko contacted us looking to work with our undergraduates in research. Naturally, we greatly appreciated having a physics alumni reaching out to us and we were very excited to have our students have this opportunity,” said Professor Robert Polak, who provided mentorship to the duo at Loyola.
From left to right: Professor Bo Polak, Daniel Bafia, Chad Husko, Stephen Londo.
The team’s research focuses on the optical properties of photonic crystals. Photonic crystals are periodic media that are capable of controlling light at the nanoscale. In the natural world, photonic crystals give color to butterfly wings and beetles through reflectance of light. In terms of human made objects, they enable high-quality and tunable mirrors, amongst others. In broader terms, photonic crystals are the optical analog to semiconductors (such as silicon) that underpin our mastery of electronics.
The team presented their initial results on specific designs of the nanostructured materials in May 2016. The next step is to make the first samples and to test their properties using the nanofabrication facilities at the Center for Nanoscale Materials (CNM) at Argonne. This summer Dan will work on this aspect of the project through the SULI (Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internship) research program under the guidance of Dr. Leo Ocola (CNM) and Dr. Husko. The SULI is a Department of Energy program dedicated to fostering undergraduate research. Stephen will lead the computational design efforts of optical resonators using the CNM Carbon computer cluster through a User proposal (LINK). This fall Stephen will begin graduate school studying chemical physics at Ohio State University and Daniel will pursue graduate studies in physics at the Illinois Institute of Technology.
“We’re really excited to have made so much progress throughout the year and looking forward to taking our research to the next level and building the structures themselves, ” said Dr. Husko.