The present-day accomplishments of photonics are due to our ability to control light to an unprecedented degree, through its interaction with matter. Unfortunately, the limited functionality of natural optical materials implies some important limitations, e.g., in the development of efficient nanoscale photonic devices.
Physicists have recently developed artificial materials with novel properties--metamaterials--and new design tools such as transformation optics that allow to circumvent some of these limitations. These recent concepts in condensed matter physics have led to the discovery of a broad range of novel photonic devices with performances that were unimaginable before.
In this project, we want to contribute to this exciting field on three different, but related levels. Firstly, we want to apply transformation optics to devise novel photonic components with extraordinary performances (e.g., for the miniaturisation of photonic systems, or reproducing the effect of time dilatation inside a metamaterial). Secondly, on the design level, we want to extend the existing methods of transformation optics to more realistic situations, including the effects of dispersion, dissipation, and reflection. Finally, we want to do explorative research in the development and testing of novel building blocks (i.e., the "atomic" units of metamaterials) in order to extend their functionality.