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Physicists score a hat trick at the end of the year

Group led by Prof. Cornelia Denz has three publications in the Year's Best list in "Optics and Photonics News"

Physicists at the University of Münster have scored a hat trick. The prestigious journal "Optics and Photonics News" has included in its list of the 30 most exciting peer-reviewed research papers published worldwide in 2011 three publications by the Nonlinear Photonics group led by Prof. Cornelia Denz. Traditionally, the magazine reminds readers in a special issue at the end of the year of the research highlights in the fields of optics and photonics in the past 12 months.

"In its December issue, 'Optics and Photonics News' recognizes innovative publications which have aroused particular interest worldwide among experts in the field," says Cornelia Denz. "This makes it a great honour for my group to be represented with no fewer than three papers." Last year a study published by scientists led by the Münster professors Cornelia Denz (physics) and Luisa De Cola (chemistry) was included in the list of the most important pieces of research work done.

The work receives particular recognition this year: the cover of this issue shows the work done by Christina Alpmann, a PhD student at Münster who traps nano- and micro-particles in tailored light structures by a clever overlaying of laser beams.

Outstanding publications

In her outstanding publications, Christina Alpmann has shown how tailored light structures can be generated in order to trap and "sort" nano- and micro-particles by complex laser beams. Together with her co-authors she has succeeded in assembling nano- and micro-particles, caught by means of light, into three dimensional artificial structures, given by Ince-Gaussian or Mathieu beams.

Light can change material through certain nonlinear processes - the light structure is "imprinted", into the material. In this way it is possible to tailor the optical properties of a material. This is the basis for the second publication. PhD student Patrick Rose and his colleagues have succeeded in producing three-dimensional spiral structures similar to the structure of DNA molecules. This makes it possible to analyse the propagation of the light through DNA-type structures.

Dr. Dragana Jovic, a Humboldt fellow and member of the Nonlinear Photonics group, has likewise made a significant discovery. For some time it has been known that artificial materials consisting of latticed structures can prevent a laser beam from dispersion and broadening. However, this is no longer possible if these structures are somewhat irregular - e.g. due to technical problems. Dragana Jovic demonstrated that in the case of such slightly random structures a new effect occurs which compensates for broadening of a laser beam - the so-called Anderson Localization. Jovic discovered that this localization is influenced by whether the material structure is one- or two-dimensional. In addition, the position of the laser beam within the structure plays a significant role.

Article in the December issue of "Optics and Photonics News" and original publications:

M. Woerdemann, C. Alpmann et al.: "Tailored Light Fields - a Novel Approach for Creating Complex Optical Traps" ("Optical assembly of micro particles into highly ordered structures using Ince-Gaussian beams", M. Woerdemann , C. Alpmann, C. Denz, Appl. Phys. Lett. 98, 2011, 111101, doi:10.1063/1.3561770)

J. Becker, P. Rose et al.: "3D Lattices with Twist - Next Generation Photonic Lattices" ("Systematic approach to complex periodic vortex and helix lattices", J. Becker, P. Rose, M. Boguslawski, C. Denz, Optics Express 19, 2011, 9848-9862, doi:10.1364/OE.19.009848)

D. Jovic et al: "Lattice Boundaries and Dimensionality Crossover on Anderson Localization of Light" ("Transverse localization of light in nonlinear photonic lattices with dimensionality crossover", D. M. Jovic, M. R. Belic, C. Denz, Phys. Rev. A 84, 2011, 043811, doi:10.1103/PhysRevA.84.043811)

idw :: 05.12.2011