The innovation engine for new materials

Alfredo Torres


University of California, Santa Barbara


Electrical Engineering

Site Abroad: 

Trinity College Dublin, Ireland


Astrid Wachauer

Faculty Sponsor(s): 

Werner Blau

Faculty Sponsor's Department: 


Project Title: 

Nonlinear Optical Properties and Photonic Applications of Microbiologically Synthesized Tellurium Nano Crystals

Project Description: 

Photonics technology has become an important part of our daily life, spanning telecommunications, displays, lighting, renewable energy to biomedical sensors and devices. Particularly, the current worldwide introduction of Fibre-to-the-Home technologies demands components which are efficient, cheap, easy to install and environmentally safe. Most active devices rely on inorganic semiconducting compounds. The increasing use of nanostructures has created a concomitant increase in complexity and cost of fabrication equipment. Furthermore, the chemicals used in most active devices, GaInAlAs or InP, contain heavy metals and toxics. Nanotechnology has introduced Nano-composites in optical applications such as protective coatings, organic light emitting diodes and optical limiting. Protection from lasers is a growing field as lasers become stronger. Two essential materials tested were the triangular silver Nano-plates and the tellurium Nano-crystals which were produced in lab. They were tested with the use of z-scan setup to reveal third order nonlinear effects such as nonlinear index of refraction and two photon absorption. This project is a model to demonstrate and develop the convergence of sciences, spanning the entire range from fundamental cutting-edge Nano science to generic bio-based composite material development to ultrafast and nonlinear optics, leading ultimately to photonics applications.