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Caldwell group awarded an FY24 Defense University Research Instrumentation Program grant

Posted by on Tuesday, December 19, 2023 in News.

The Caldwell group was recently awarded an FY24 Defense University Research Instrumentation Program grant to purchase several upgrades to the nano-optic probes housed within the laboratory. The grant provides funding to upgrade the existing scattering-type scanning near-field optical microscope (s-SNOM) and nano-FTIR metrology suite present in his laboratory at Vanderbilt University to enable s-SNOM mapping into the telecom, mid-wave, and far-infrared (FIR) spectral ranges, perform s-SNOM and nano-FTIR measurements under applied electrical bias, and within transmission configurations. Specifically, this would provide four major upgrades: 1) Extend the spectral range for s-SNOM measurements via an optical parametric oscillator (OPO)-based laser, which provides excitation between 1.4-2.02, 2.25-4.45, and 5-18 µm free-space wavelengths. 2) Enable single point spectroscopy mode, providing IR spectra over the same spectral range as the OPO, effectively extending the range of Nano-FTIR to include the NIR and FIR. 3) Addition of photocurrent electrical testing attachment. 4) Enable s-SNOM and nano-FTIR measurements in transmission mode.

The proposed instrumentation is designed to meet the challenges of current and future DoD programs, with PI Caldwell’s recently funded ONR MURI program a specific focus. This program aims to understand the role of crystal structure and symmetry in driving hybridization and strong coupling phenomena within moiré and twist-optic structures. These offer opportunities for active beam-steering and tuning of emitters, novel laser and electro-optic devices, polarization control including dictating chirality, and nonlinear optical responses within the IR. The expanded functionality will benefit a variety of DoD programs, including those at the Naval Research Laboratory and multiple universities including Vanderbilt, Penn State, Stanford, University of Minnesota, University of Iowa, and University of Virginia.

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