PIERS2019 Tomoki S. L. Prugger Suzuk


PIERS2019 report

Tomoki S. L. Prugger Suzuki (M2)

From the 17th of June to the 20th of June, I attended PIERS2019 conference in Rome. It was the largest PIERS ever organized with 1800 participants and 20+ sessions in parallel. Many keynote and invited talks were featured during the conference and it was hard deciding what session to attend because of the large number of simultaneous talks.

Besides the conference, Rome is a beautiful city with its own atmosphere and flavor, dirty and chaotic at first impression, but deeper immersion reveals stunning beauty and unforgettable experiences. Although many participants registered in the conference, sessions never held more than 20-30 listeners: I imagine Rome is a great attraction also outside the conference venue. Many fields of photonics where discussed during the 4 days. Nanophotonics always hosted the largest number of participants and many interesting talks, such as “nanomaterial-enhanced Integrated Photonics” from Prof. Armani – discussing the potentialities of nanomaterials integrated on WGM microresonators for enhanced capabilities in sensing and lasing – and “Progress on Neuromorphic Silicon Photonics” by Prof. Prucnal – explaining how photonics have taken huge steps forward since 1980 to be now practical.

Metamaterials and Plasmonics are still in their research stage, but it gathered a lot of attention and lively discussions about their basic theory, such as in the talk “The complex-valued nature of the mode volume of photonics and plasmonic nanocavities” by Prof. Philippe Lalanne. If fabrication at nanoscale and theory can advance hand in hand, I prospect reasonable success for these fields in the near future, as they allow strong manipulation of light.

Session related to photo-responsive materials and light robotics drew my personal interest because of their fascinating behavior. By using photochemical elastomers or patterned light, light can be used as a remote actuator. “Light Robots Based on Shape-changing Materials” by Prof. Arri Priimagi was particularly interesting being able to replicate caterpillar movement at eye-safe light powers. However, to me this field sounds more of a hobby and I am curious to see what it can bring to the table in the next years.

Disordered Photonics, on the other hand, has seemed to focus its attention on the Opacity Problem, which is how to realize white materials by controlling the scattering of nanoparticles. It involves complex calculations to derive optimal filling factors and geometries. The goal is to substitute TiO2 for whitening industrial products, as it is unsafe and environmentally unfriendly.

The session focusing on soliton generation in fiber lasers – closely related to my research topic – did not introduce any new schemes of soliton generation, but works were focused on improving performance, such as “Polarization Soliton Dynamics in Linear Ultrafast Fiber Lasers” by Prof. Michelle Y. Sander – achieving 1GHz with highly doped Thulium fiber and “Voltage Controlled Graphene Supercapacitors for Femtosecond Pulse Generation in the Near Infrared” by Prof. Alphan Sennaroglu.

“Ablation-cooled Laser-material Processing at GHz Repetition Rates” by Prof. E. Ilday explained the importance of changing direction of laser processing of materials towards ablation cooling with nJ pulses at >100GHz rate, instead of high power uJ pulses used in nowadays industry. This is a very important application of our research on a pulsed WGM microlaser but femtosecond pulses need to generated at >100GHz to be of any practical use in this sense.

My session was in the afternoon of the last day, therefore not many listeners joined the session and not many of the field of lasers. Therefore, questions didn’t raise any important points or problems to share, but interest of listeners was perceived.

Finally, it was great first experience of international conference and made me realize how much I do not know outside fiber lasers and microresonators, sparkling the necessity in me to learn more and research harder.