During the last forty years, photonics has developed from a subfield of quantum electronics to an important subject of multidisciplinary physics and to a mature technology with applications in ICT, life sciences, material science, etc. For the realisation of photonic components, researchers are making increasingly use of metamaterials or artificial materials with properties that are not available for natural materials. In this project, we will study two new and complementary metamaterials: quantum dots and left-handed materials.
(1) Quantum dots in lasers allow for a higher degree of carrier confinement than the quantum wells that are used in the current generation of semiconductor lasers. They can lead to lasers with a higher efficiency, with tunable wavelength, and with more stable dynamics. In my doctoral research, we will characterise quantum dot lasers experimentally and examine how we can establish rate equation models for such lasers, where we will have to take into account the dynamics of both the quantum dots and the so-called "wetting layer."
(2) Left-handed materials are optical material that are characterised by negative permittivity and negative permeability. These materials, which exhibit a number of extraordinary properties such as negative refraction, inverse Doppler effect and perfect imaging, can only be fabricated since a few years. In my doctoral research, we will focus our research on the study of the use of left-handed material in photonic components. First, we will investigate a (nonlinear) Fabry-Perot resonator filled with such a left-handed material; the emphasis will be on the influence of the left-handed material on diffraction and therefore also on the modulational stability of the resonator. Subsequently, we will consider other photonic components, such as waveguides and lasers.