My research centers on creating plasmonic and photonic nanostructures (metamaterials) and realizing their interactions with organic, biochemical and semiconductor compounds. Metamaterials are artificially engineered materials that exhibit extraordinary electromagnetic properties not readily available in nature? such as negative refractive index and artificial magnetism. I utilize the unique properties of metamaterials for energy, biomedical and sensing applications. I combine several nanofabrication processes and design ultrafast nano-spectroscopic characterization techniques to address this research. Focusing on these areas allows me to conduct interdisciplinary work at the interfaces of optics, material science, chemistry, and biology.
At present, my primary research goal is to develop a nano-spectrometer as an ultrafast diagnostic and imaging tool for biomedical applications and produce high resolution, label-free, chemical images of biological cells and protein nanoparticles. It will also be used to image and characterize the localized interactions between plasmonic nanostructures with other biochemical and organic compounds for their enhanced detection. Simultaneously, I want to create a plasmon-enhanced organic semiconductor (bulk heterojunction) based photovoltaics. Here, I will embed various light trapping plasmonic and photonic nanostructures at the active region of the photovoltaic device. Further, I will use my nano-spectrometer to produce chemical images of the interaction between plasmons and organic semiconductors and correlate the nanoscale phase separation with device performance in these photovoltaics.
My secondary research goal is to create a plasmonic-photonic hybrid, multi-parametric, highly sensitive, portable optical biosensor. By integrating microfluidic channels, this biosensor will be designed to allow direct analysis of body fluids for detecting common antigens and toxins, specific to a targeted pathology. The aim here is to produce a low-cost handheld lab-on-chip device that could be used for a “positive/negative” detection scheme. Thus, I conduct cutting edge research in the field of nanophotonics to answer some of the fundamental questions about light-matter interaction, with a significant emphasis on Imaging, Sensing, and Detecting.