Physics Professor Appointed as Fellow at the U.S. Naval Research Lab
Joseph B. Herzog, assistant professor in the department of physics, has been appointed as a fellow in the Office of Naval Research Summer Faculty Research Program. As a fellow, he has been visiting the U. S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) this summer in Washington, DC. The Naval Research Lab is one of the top U.S. institutions for innovating new nanotechnology. To quote the NRL's website, it is an environment where "the nation's best scientists and engineers are inspired to pursue their passion."
For his appointment, he has been collaborating with Jake Fontana, a research physicist in the Center for Biomolecular Science and Engineering, which is a division of the Materials Directorate at the NRL. Both Herzog and Fontana are emerging experts in the field of nanogap plasmonics, which is a sub-field of physics and optics. By fabricating, measuring and modeling these metal nanostructures, they can understand the unique optical properties they exhibit due to plasmons, which are small waves of electrons on surfaces. Plasmonics is a field that can advance technology for optical devices, such as improving the detection capabilities in optical sensors, or increasing the efficiencies of solar cells or photodetectors. Plasmonic structures can enhance optical signals, and having nano-sized gaps in these devices can magnify the plasmonic effect even further.
Herzog explores the specialty field from a "top-down" fabrication method by using lithography and a unique alignment approach to fabricate large arrays of nanogaps, while Fontana's area of expertise uses a "bottom-up" chemical synthesis approach to fabricate the nanogap metasurfaces with sub-nanometer gaps over a large area. Both techniques have unique advantages, and the summer program will foster a new collaboration in this emerging field.
In addition to enabling this new, important relationship, Herzog's summer visit will provide him a good understanding of the Department of Defense and the Department of the Navy's research interests and needs.
While Herzog has been researching at the NRL, some of his student have also been gaining valuable experience with the Navy this summer in a variety of research groups through the Naval Research Enterprise Internship Program for students.
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