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Winter Seminar: Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Please mark your calendar to hear guest speaker: Jeremy Munday

Location: EC326

Time: 4:00 - 5:00 p.m.

Abstract: When light interacts with matter, a rich variety of phenomena can occur leading to both energy generation and mechanical motion under appropriate conditions. In this talk, I will present our recent results on two fronts: (i) energy generation from photons (quanta of light) and (ii) mechanical motion of microscale objects using either photon pressure or nanoscale quantum mechanic forces. In the first part, I will discuss how we can design and implement small-scale optical components in order to greatly improve the amount of absorption possible in thin photovoltaic devices—leading to significant efficiency improvements. We will also discuss new energy generating concepts that take advantage of so-called ‘hot electrons’ that are usually lost to heat. In the second part, I will discuss our work using both photon pressure and the Casimir force (a quantum mechanical phenomenon) to manipulate nano- and microscale objects. I will describe experiments in which we tailored these interactions between solid materials to achieve both attractive and repulsive nanoscale forces. While these projects are scientifically challenging, the graduate, undergraduate, and high school students in our lab have made great progress. I will highlight our team’s future directions for advanced energy generation.

Bio: Jeremy Munday is currently an Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Maryland with affiliate appointments in the Institute for Research in Electronics and Applied Physics (IREAP) and the Chemical Physics Graduate Program at UMD. He received his PhD in Physics from Harvard in 2008, under the supervision of Federico Capasso, and his BS in Physics and Astronomy from Middle Tennessee State University in 2003. He was a postdoctoral scholar in the group of Harry Atwater in the departments of Applied Physics and Materials Science at Caltech until 2011 when he moved to UMD. His research endeavors range from near field optics, photonics, and plasmonics for energy harvesting to quantum electromechanical phenomena (such as the Casimir effect) for manipulating micro- and nano-mechanical devices. He has received a number of recognitions, including the NASA Early Career Faculty Space Technology Research Award.