Photonic and Phononic Interactions with Materials

The interaction of photons and phonons with matter allows materials to be probed over a wide range of length and time scales, providing vital information for understanding their basic properties. Phonons are also one of the elementary excitations of materials, so that their interaction with other excitations (electrons, magnetic moments…) is also of fundamental importance. This multidisciplinary research area involves material properties that include (i) single atoms and molecules (excitation, ionization, probing, manipulation), (ii) complex molecular systems (biological, pharmaceutical, chemical - including distributed optical fibre sensing), (iii) nanostructures (quantum dots, nanofabrication, nanomachines, surface structures), (iv) microscopic interactions (optical tweezers, cell interactions, linear and non-linear photoacoustic interactions), and (v) millimeter and larger scale systems (ultrasonic and acoustic interactions in mesoscopic materials). The common themes that emerge from the complementarity of the many different approaches involved (optical and ultrasonic imaging, time-resolved measurements, fluorescence detection, spectroscopy, multi-photon and phonon spectroscopy, polarization detection, studies of non-linear processes, and intensity and phase measurements) form the basis from which new collaborations and scientific breakthroughs may be expected.

Examples of ongoing research: Imaging of complex materials, scattering and absorption in complex materials, mesoscopic wave phenomena, surface acoustic wave devices, X-ray scattering and diffraction, NMR and Mössbauer spectroscopies, photon and phonon correlation spectroscopies

Participating Researchers: Hawthorne, Kroeker, Oliver, Page, Scanlon, van Lierop, Wang