Light-matter interactions are the fundamental basis for many phenomena and processes in optical devices. This talk will cover ultra-high-quality whispering-gallery-mode (WGM) optical microresonators, which provide an unprecedented capability to trap light in a highly confined volume smaller than a strand of human hair. Light beams can travel around the boundary of a WGM resonator over 10^6 times, significantly enhancing light-matter interactions, creating the potential for a wealth of new scientific discoveries and technological breakthroughs. High-Q microresonators and microlasers have great potential for both fundamental science and engineering applications; the choices of materials for the photonic resonators enable various opportunities for different applications. Examples range from low-threshold lasers to parity-time-symmetric resonators and their application for sensing and nonreciprocal light transmission. I will review our recent exploration non-Hermitian physics, such as light-matter interactions around exceptional points (EPs) in high-quality WGM resonators, unravels innovative strategies to achieve a new generation of optical systems enabling unconventional control of light flow. I will also reveal an interesting finding of mechanical solitons through optomechanical effects in a microtoroid resonator. The conclusion of this talk will discuss a barcode technology based on collective behaviors of multiple resonances for sensing applications. Our research discoveries just represent a glimpse of the potential of photonic resonators; there are still many exciting opportunities by leveraging the enhanced light-matter interactions through resonant effects in the future.
Professor Lan Yang is the Edwin H. and Florence G. Skinner professor in the Preston M. Green Department of Electrical and Systems Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis. She is also the editor-in-chief of Photonics Research. She received a B.S. degree from the University of Science and Technology of China and received her Ph.D. in applied physics from Caltech in 2005. Her research interests have been focusing on the fundamental understanding of light-matter interactions and their applications. She enjoys investigating physics in various types of high-quality photonic resonators and exploring their applications for sensing, lasing, light harvesting, and communications.
Her research in parity-time-symmetry and non-Hermitian physics in high-quality resonators have led to a series of new discoveries for unconventional control of light transport in photonic structures. Recently, her research interests expanded to hybrid optoelectronic systems including flat optics modified CMOS imaging sensors for multimodality sensing applications.
She received the NSF CAREER Award in 2010 for her work on single nanoparticle detection and sizing using an on-chip optical resonator. She also received the 2010 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). She is a Fellow of OSA (Optical Society of America), IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers), APS (American Physical Society), and AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science).