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Research group | Nanophotonics

Modern femtosecond laser system for the generation of nanostructures. Photo: Thomas Damm/QUEST

Besides exploring the fundamental connections between quantum physics and of space-time phenomena, research at QUEST is focused on the exploitation of innovative methods for realizing novel optical components and technologies for the integration of quantum effects in manageable devices. The research group “Nanophotonics”, founded at the inception of QUEST at the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V., comes under this context. The work of the group deals with research on potential applications of modern laser systems for the generation of 2D and 3D micro- and nanostructures. Using thes llaser-based techniques, it is already possible to produce structures with resolutions below 100 nm in a manner that is both fast and flexible. The structured materials show up a variety of new and unexpected optical properties which are studied both experimentally and theoretically. The combination of metallic and dielectric nanostructures allows adjustments to the refractive index of these “metamaterials” with the possibility of even achieving negative values, thus opening up ways for realizing novel optical elements.

The fabricated micro- and nanostructures may also form a basis for integrating atomic time and frequency standards (atomic chips). To connect these complex micro-scale components with the outside world, new and innovative optical technologies based on surface plasmon-polaritons, exploiting the propagation of light along metallic nanostructures, are under investigation within the research group.