Back from FIO!

Had a great week at the Frontiers in Optics conference in Rochester, presenting our recent experimental work integrating gold nanotips in a step index fiber. Conferences are always inspiring, but this was a particularly special event, marking the 100 years of the Optical Society of America. Several Nobel prize speakers participated in a fascinating panel discussion following Michio Kaku‘s talk on speculations regarding the next 100 years. The conference dinner party was spectacular! (See if you can spot me dancing.)  It was also great to catch up on with old friends, and make some new ones. Towards the end I also had the chance to drive up to Toronto and visit Peter Herman’s group – I gave a talk on fiber plasmonics, and we discussed a collaboration. What a week!

DoK’s4DoK’s @ DoKDoK


Last Wednesday I had the pleasure of being an invited speaker at DoKDoK, the 5th Student-organized conference on Optics, held each year at Oppurg Castle, close to Jena. I participated in a panel discussion in the context of Dok’s4Dok’s, to present my experiences and views on publishing in high impact and/or low(er) impact journals. Some of the questions raised included:

What are benefits and drawbacks of publishing in either type of journal? Which one is more worthwhile in terms of science? Which is more important in terms of increasing the likelihood of a successful academic career?

Panel member Silvio Fuchs had different opinions in some circumstances, and many of the Masters and PhD students were very keen to find out more, asking us several questions throughout. It was a sitmulating hour of discussion, and I had the chance to consolidate some of my own opinions on this topic in the process.

For an introduction to the subject, this comic by PhDComics is a good place to start!

Progress in metamaterial cladding hollow core fibers


Several papers on metamaterial-cladding hollow core fibers have come out just in the past couple of weeks. We had our very own Optics Express paper presenting an analytic model for calculating the dispersions (including losses) of large-area hollow core fibers with complex claddings, for an example metamaterial cladding (formed by sub-wavelength metal wires) at 3μm and 10.6μm. This work continues our previous work on such structures, and can be applied to a large variety of geometries.This opens up many new design opportunities, and a simple method for performing otherwise very intensive calculations.

M. Zeisberger, A. Tuniz and M. A. Schmidt, “Analytic model for the complex effective index dispersion of metamaterial-cladding large-area hollow core fibers”, Optics Express 24, 20515-20528 (2016).

At the same time, the metamaterial fibers group in Sydney have shown two back-to back publications showing the theory and experiment of a single-mode, single-polarization hollow-core THz fiber with a metamaterial cladding, consisting of subwavelength-diameter metal wires embedded in a dielectric host, a promising platform for compact and low-loss terahertz waveguides.

Great to see this progress in the field!

Removing image artefacts in wire array metamaterials


The new paper by Samiul Habib et al. from the Sydney metamaterial fibers group presents a comprehensive overview of how to remove imaging artefacts when using wire media for sub-wavelength imaging. This is particularly important for using these hyperlenses as broadband subwavelength imaging devices. Three methods are presented based on convolution, field averaging, and power averaging. A technique relying on a projection in spatial Fourier space to filter out all ordinary waves overcomes the distortions we observed in our Scientific Reports paper from last year when imaging large objects with sub-wavelength features. The images above were obtained using my Python code – contact me if you might be interested in using it!

Md. S. Habib, A. Tuniz, K. J. Kaltenecker, Q. Chateiller, I. Perrin, S. Atakaramians, S. C. Fleming, A. Argyros, and B. T. Kuhlmey, “Removing image artefacts in wire array metamaterials”, Optics Express 24, 17989-18002 (2016).

Heading to Frontiers in Optics


My oral presentation has been sessioned at the Frontiers in Optics/Laser Science Conference (FiO/LS), which will be held at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center, Rochester, New York from 17-21 October 2016. For those interested in attending, details are below:

Presentation Number: FW3E.4
Presentation Time: 2:15 PM to 2:30 PM
Session Time and Dates: October 19, 2016 from 1:00 PM to 2:30 PM
Session Title: Plasmonics

Glad to have the opportunity to present some of our latest experimental work on fiber-integrated gold-nanotips! Hope to see you there!

Humans: an Unauthorised Biography


My parents have just published a book with Springer: “Humans: an Unauthorised Biography”. It’s an excellent, insightful, friendly volume on our species, covering anthropological, scientific and economic aspects of what it means to be human – definitely worth a read! I read some early drafts and provided some thoughts and feedback, which earned me a thank you in the Acknowledgements for my “merciless criticism”…

Based on the latest scientific discoveries, this “unauthorized biography” of the Humans recounts the story of our distant ancestors during the past 6 million years, since the line of our extended family separated from that leading to modern chimpanzees. The book explains how different species evolved, both anatomically and cognitively, and describes the impacts of climatic and environmental change on this process. It also explores the nature of relationships within and between species, describes their everyday lives, and discusses how isolated individuals became members of larger social groups. The concluding chapters highlight the paramount importance of the emergence of symbolic thought and discuss its contribution to the formation of institutions, societies, and economies. The multifaceted picture that emerges will help the reader to make sense not only of “what we were”, but also of “what we are”, here and now. The book is both entertaining and rigorous in integrating results from a wide selection of disciplines. It will be particularly suitable for people with a curious and open mind, keen to overcome long-standing prejudices on man’s place in nature.

New paper online: tailored loss discrimination in metamaterial hollow core fibers


Combining the idea of metamaterial fibers developed at the University of Sydney, with recent work on modal selectivity in gold-nanowire enhanced optical fibers  performed at IPHT Jena, we have shown that large-area hollow core fibers with sub-wavelength gold nanowires in the cladding can exhibit peculiar properties. In particular, by changing the filling fraction of metal, we can vary which mode has the lowest loss. Interestingly, some of the modes have much lower losses than equivalent modes in fibers made with the individual constituent materials. Furthermore, simple scattering matrix parameter retrieval techniques give an adequate description of the modal losses, which simplifies the design procedure. This was shown at an example CO2 laser wavelength, but is applicable at other wavelengths.

For the full paper, see: A. Tuniz et al., “Tailored loss discrimination in indefinite metamaterial-clad hollow-core fibers”, Opt. Express 24, 15702-15709 (2016)

Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting


(photo courtesy of Filippo Caruso)

Just got back from one week at the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting. What a week! It was a unique opportunity to engage with some of the world’s best young (and older) scientists. Some of the highlights include the panel discussing the standard model (with a live video stream direct from CERN), quantum computing (it’s a long way away, but that doesn’t matter), and the Bavarian evening (music and merriment). It was also quite incredible to hear Roy Glauber talk about his times as an 18-year-old working on the Manhattan project. Stefan Hell told us about his journey to reinvigorating a century-old field with his invention of sub-diffraction far-field microscopy, and Steven Chu gave some insight into the pathways for a sustainable future. I could go on for quite a while – since every single person talking had a fascinating story to tell. Here I am holding Klaus von Klitzing’s Nobel prize. He told us this was one way to get the prize!

OSA Spotlight

OSA_spotlightOur paper “Broadband efficient directional coupling to short-range plasmons: towards hybrid fiber nanotips” was featured in OSA’s May edition of “Spotlight on Optics”, which highlights recent articles articles from OSA journals – they seem to select approximately 10 papers per month. Quite a pleasure to be featured there!

Addendum (15/06/2016): just received the following letter from the OSA informing me of this Spotlight on Optics!