Title: Interacting optical and topological solitons in frustrated cholesterics
Host Institution: University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Mathematics and Physics
In our ever-growing digital world, finding fast and efficient ways of manipulating and transmitting information unlocks the possibility to implement more efficient business models (using big data, cloud computing, deep learning...). Amidst a number of concurrent fields (electronics, spintronics, amtronics...), photonics aims to address this technological need by exploring novel means for the generation, transmission, manipulation and detection of light. In this proposal, we want to develop a new research direction by combining knowledge from photonics and topological soft matter to find novel ways of guiding light using chiral birefringent media. The non-linear optical response of these media allows a laser beam to be self-confined and to propagate over long distances, leading to what is called spatial optical solitons. Our primary objective is to develop a complete model of optical solitons in chiral birefringent media and examine how these light solitons can be steered and controlled using topological solitons — localized and tunable perturbations of the molecular orientational field which cannot be continuously deformed into the uniform state. Our methodology will be based on the theoretical and numerical modeling of the non-linear equations for the propagation of light in chiral birefringent media, combined with collaborative experiments. This fellowship is designed to include an excellent training both on scientific skills (mainly photonics and topology, for which the expertise of the host group will be essential) and transferable skills such as leadership, project and data management, intellectual property rights, etc. The training that I will receive on photonics — a major field both in the academic and industry sector — will also provide a significant boost on my career prospects.
»This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 834256.«