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Leveraging Advances in Computational Electrodynamics to Enable New Kinds of Nanophotonic Devices

Ardavan Oskooi and M.T. Homer Reid, Simpetus and MIT
Thursday, September 7, 2017 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm
EEB 303

​Advances in computational electrodynamics have the potential to enable fundamentally new kinds of nanophotonic devices which are based principally on complex, non-analytical wave-interference effects. Powerful, flexible, open-source software tools have now been made available for use in large-scale, parallel computations to model the interaction of light with practically any kind of material in any arbitrary geometry. These recent developments in computational capability make possible the investigation of various emergent structures, materials, and physical phenomena that were previously beyond the reach of theoretical methods and even commercial software tools which tend to be less versatile and even less readily available to academic researchers and small groups.

Computational electromagnetics may be broadly divided into two categories: differential-equation and integral-equation solvers. This seminar will cover both. We will first demonstrate how advances in finite-difference time-domain (FDTD) methods via the open-source package MEEP can lead to new designs for light trapping in thin-film silicon solar cells as well as light extraction from organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs). Then we will discuss two applications of surface-integral-equation algorithms via the open-source package SCUFF-EM. These include designing antennas defined by periodic and aperiodic nanopatterning with polarization-sensitive frequency response, and optimizing the shapes and material content of asymmetric nanoparticles to maximize radiative heat transfer, Casimir forces, and other phenomena induced by thermal and quantum-mechanical fluctuations.

Finally, we will describe efforts by our startup, Simpetus, to leverage on-demand, scalable, high-performance computing (HPC) in the public cloud for large-scale device design.

Speaker Bios:

Ardavan Oskooi is the Founder and CEO of Simpetus, a San Francisco-based startup accelerating innovation and discovery in electromagnetics with simulations. Simpetus is a reference to our vision for simulations being an impetus for new discoveries and technologies. Ardavan received his Sc.D. from MIT where he worked with Professors Steven G. Johnson and John D. Joannopoulos to develop MEEP (thesis: Computation & Design for Nanophotonics). Ardavan has published 13 first-author articles in peer-reviewed journals, 3 issued patents, and the book Advances in FDTD Computational Electrodynamics: Photonics and Nanotechnology. Ardavan has a masters in Computation for Design and Optimization from MIT and completed his undergraduate studies, with honors, in Engineering Science at the University of Toronto. Prior to launching Simpetus, Ardavan worked as a postdoctoral researcher with Professors Susumu Noda at Kyoto University and Stephen R. Forrest at the University of Michigan on leveraging MEEP to push the frontier of optoelectronic device design.

M.T. Homer Reid is Lecturer in Applied Mathematics at MIT, where his research encompasses computational electromagnetics as well as computational quantum field theory and chemistry. Homer completed his PhD in physics at MIT, where he worked with Professors Jacob White and Steven G. Johnson to create the fluctuating-surface-current approach to fluctuational electrodynamics. Homer is the developer of the SCUFF-EM package for surface-integral modeling of deterministic and fluctuational electromagnetism problems. Before completing his PhD in theoretical physics, Homer worked as an experimental condensed-matter physicist and as an analog/RF integrated-circuit designer at a semiconductor company.

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