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Photonics and Optomechanics Group

Photonic/phononic devices to advance classical and quantum measurements in science and industry.

The Photonics and Optomechanics group studies the fundamental interactions of photons and phonons in microfabricated structures to enable new chip-scale tools for precision measurement, quantum information and future computing.

For optical fields, the tight confinement afforded by nanoscale waveguides and resonators allows nonlinear behavior to be realized at ultra-low intensity, enabling efficient generation of micro-optical frequency combs for time and frequency measurement or entanglement and conversion of photons for quantum information applications. Meta-optics (arrays of subwavelength elements, negative-refractive-index materials, and plasmonics) opens new capabilities to study photon interactions and to completely control and modulate light in wafer-thin components. These capabilities combine to enable complex integrated devices, such as chip-based cold atoms for precision navigation and timing, and underlie future applications in advanced computing, and integrated photonics.

Nanoscale confinement of acoustic waves and vibrations in mechanical systems can yield ultra-high frequency, low-loss resonators used in RF communications and sensing, and in analogy to photonics, nonlinear mechanics enables new capabilities. The integration of optical and mechanical elements allows highly precise and accurate mechanical sensing in deployable chip-scale devices, such as ultra-sensitive accelerometers with intrinsic accuracy and optical readout of scanning tunneling microscopes. This also allows optical forces to control mechanical elements enabling optical cooling of mechanical sensors for improved sensitivity and chip-scale lasers that self-cool. Ultimately this can lead to room-temperature quantum measurement using mechanical sensors that can be prepared in quantum states while in contact with a room-temperature environment.

New Nanodevice Shifts Light's Color at Single-Photon Level

False-color scanning electron micrograph of a nanophotonic frequency converter
Credit: K. Srinivasan et al./NIST

Converting a single photon from one color, or frequency, to another is an essential tool in quantum communication, which harnesses the subtle correlations between the subatomic properties of photons (particles of light) to securely store and transmit information. Scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have now developed a miniaturized version of a frequency converter, using technology similar to that used to make computer chips.  More

News and Updates

Projects and Programs


Single-atom trapping in a metasurface-lens optical tweezer

Ting-Wei Hsu, Wenqi Zhu, Tobias Thiele, Mark Brown, Scott Papp, Amit Agrawal, Cindy Regal
Single neutral atoms in optical tweezers have become an important platform for quantum simulation, computing, and metrology [1-3]. With ground-up control

Metasurface on integrated photonic platform: from mode converters to machine learning

Zi Wang, Yahui Xiao, Kun Liao, Tiantian Li, Hao Song, Haoshuo Chen, S M Zia Uddin, Dun Mao, Feifan Wang, Zhiping Zhou, Bo Yuan, Wei Jiang, Nikolas Fontaine, Amit Agrawal, Alan Willner, Xiaoyong Yu, Tingyi Gu
Integrated photonic circuits are created as a small form factor and robust analogue for fiber-based optical systems, from wavelength-division multiplication


CNST Nanolithography Toolbox

The Nanolithography Toolbox is a platform-independent software package for scripted lithography pattern layout generation. The Center for Nanoscale Science and


Press Coverage


Group Leader