Photonics is a strongly growing sector of the economy and a major research area in Europe. In Thuringia and in particular in Jena, the scientific and industrial location is shaped by universities, research institutes and companies in the field of optics and photonics. While the number of young, well-trained female graduates is high, women who hold a leading position in academia and high-tech industry are still underrepresented.
Light-matter interactions are typically limited by the mismatch between the length scale of light waves and electronic confinement in matter. Well-designed nanostructures can function as optical antennas and offer the possibility to sculpt optical fields at sub-wavelength regime and thereby to control nanoscale light-matter interaction.
Our research focuses on the understanding and engineering of nanoscale light-matter interaction by applying well-designed nanostructures. We design, fabricate and characterize functional nanostructures at optical frequency regime, where the energy of photons is sufficient for electronic transition in matter. By controlling the properties of light at the nanoscale, such as field intensity, resonant frequency, spatial distribution, phase relation and polarization, we aim at addressing specific optical transitions in matter and thereby control photochemical and photophyscial interaction. Our current research topics include (1) surface plasmon-enhanced spectroscopy; (2) optical nanocircuits; (3) near-field optical manipulation and (4) the development of novel nanomaterials and fabrication methods.