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Flash of Light in Research Expo Artwork Comes from a Supercontinuum Laser Source

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A supercontinuum laser source from the lab of UC San Diego electrical engineering professor Boubacar Kanté is part of the artwork for Research Expo 2018. Register here.

San Diego, Calif., Apr. 5, 2018 -- The flashy photo above, which is the imagery for Research Expo 2018, is a photo of a supercontinuum laser source from the lab of University of California San Diego electrical and computer engineering professor Boubacar Kanté. This instrument is being used to help researchers develop more efficient solar materials and compact, ultra-sensitive sensors.  

Kanté is one of three faculty speakers on April 19 at Research Expo 2018 at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering. Register today for this unique event to connect with 200+ graduate students of the Jacobs School all in one afternoon.

A supercontinuum laser source is an instrument that generates light made up of all of the different wavelengths within a particular spectral range, such as the visible spectrum of light. The resulting white light is essentially a product of all the different colors of light combining together.

Kanté and his team are using this instrument to simulate sunlight for testing solar collectors, which are devices that collect and concentrate sunlight onto a small area receiver. The goal of this project is to design new solar collectors that are more efficient and less expensive than those used in today’s state-of-the-art solar energy systems. This project is funded by a $2.5 million award from the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative.

This supercontinuum laser source is also being used in a project aimed at developing a compact, ultra-sensitive nanosensor. What’s special about this particular nanosensor is that it operates based on fundamental physics phenomena called exceptional points, which are points that occur where two different light waves come together and merge as one. These points are extremely sensitive to tiny changes and disturbances, making them useful for monitoring small biological molecules in the body and detecting minute quantities of gases and chemical threats. The researchers are measuring and analyzing exceptional points using the supercontinuum laser source.

“This so-called exceptional point nanosensor offers a sensing platform that’s more compatible with cells, DNA, gas molecules and nanoparticles,” said Junhee Park, an electrical and computer engineering Ph.D. student in Kanté’s lab. Park will present the latest progress on this project at Research Expo on April 19, 2018 at UC San Diego. His poster builds on research published in Nov. 2016 in the journal Physical Review B.

Read the story about the exceptional-point-based nanosensor here.

Kanté will give a 20-minute faculty talk at Research Expo at 2:30 PM on April 19. He will discuss his group’s laser research and its industry relevance. “We’ve demonstrated new ways to control light and have created new types of lasers that have never existed before. Our work could open up new possibilities for energy, telecommunications, computing and defense applications,” Kanté said.

Two graduate students from the Kanté lab who will present at the afternoon poster session are listed below.

Exceptional Points in Passive Plasmonic Nanostructure for Sensing
Student: Junhee Park
Professor: Boubacar Kanté
Industry Application Areas: Electronics/Photonics

Non-Reciprocal Lasing in Topological Cavities of Arbitrary Geometries
Student: Babak Bahari
Professor: Boubacar Kanté
Industry Application Areas: Electronics/Photonics

Research Expo 2018 Schedule: April 19
2:00 PM – 4:30 PM: Graduate Student Poster Session
2:30 PM – 3:30 PM: Lightning Tech Talks
2:30 PM: Boubacar Kante, electrical and computer engineering professor
2:50 PM: Shirley Meng, Zable Endowed Chair in Energy Technologies
3:10 PM: Henrik Christensen, Qualcomm Chancellor’s Endowed Chair in Robotic Systems
4:30 PM- 6:00 pm: Graduate student poster awards and networking reception

UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering Research Expo 2018 Sponsors
Viasat
ASML
Cubic
Leidos
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
UC San Diego Extension
UC San Diego Office of Innovation and Commercialization

Research Expo is presented by the Corporate Affiliates Program of the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering. Register today.

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Liezel Labios
Jacobs School of Engineering
Phone: 858-246-1124
llabios@ucsd.edu

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