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Control of Optical Forces and Observation of Optical Möbius Structures

Talk of potential interest

In this presentation Prof. Boyd will describe two current projects of his research group.  The first project is aimed at the control of optical forces through the use of materials with large dispersion of the linear refractive index.  The basic idea stems from the fact that the momentum of a photon in a material medium depends on both the phase velocity and group velocity of the material.  Results from the “slow light” community have shown that it is possible to achieve dramatic control of the group velocity of light, with slow-down factors as large as a million being readily achieved.  He will outline the prospects for the control of optical forces by this approach, and will show some recent laboratory results.  The second topic is their recent observation of Möbius structures in the polarization field of a highly focused structured light field.  This work confirms an earlier theoretical prediction of Isaac Freund, and constitutes a demonstration of the rich sub-wavelength structure that can exist in a focused light beam.

Prof. Robert Boyd is the Canada Excellence Research Chair at the University of Ottawa and the M. Parker Givens Professor of Optics and Professor of Physics at the University of Rochester. His research interests include studies of “slow” and “fast” light propagation, quantum imaging, nonlinear optical interactions, nonlinear optical properties of materials, and photonic devices including photonic biosensors. He is a Fellow of the OSA, APS and SPIE. He is author of Radiometry and the Detection of Optical Radiation (1983), Nonlinear Optics (1992), is co-editor of Optical Instabilities (1986) and Contemporary Nonlinear Optics (1992). He has published more than 350 research papers, been awarded nine U.S. patents and supervised 33 Ph.D. theses. He has an h-index of 69. He is the 2009 recipient of the Willis E. Lamb Award for Laser Science and Quantum Optics, the 2010 recipient of Humboldt Prize for Physics. Prof. Boyd has served as a member of the Board of Editors of Physical Review Letters and of the Board of Reviewing Editors of Science Magazine, and is on the Board of Advisors of the Templeton Foundation.