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Photonic crystal phenomena topic of Laird lecture

By Kelly Foss

Photonics today is at the stage that semiconductor electronics was at the time of the invention of the transistor. It is thought that photonics technology will lead to a revolution as profound as that due to microelectronics technology, such as computers and cell phones.

Dr. Sajeev John, the upcoming Elizabeth R. Laird guest lecturer, will discuss the breakthrough in solid-state classical physics which lead to photonic band gap (PBG) materials and the surprising new phenomena that arise when light moves through a matter.

"Photonic crystals are artificial and periodic enabling engineering of fundamental physical properties including refraction, diffraction, and spontaneous emission of light," said Dr. John. "Unlike traditional semiconductors that rely on moving electrons, photonic band gap materials operate by selective trapping or "localization of light," which is a fundamentally new and largely unexplored property of light.

During his lecture, he will explore the new physics and review some of the practical applications including all-optical information processing, solar energy harvesting, efficient lighting, and intense laser light delivery in clinical medicine.
Dr. Sajeev John was educated at MIT and Harvard and has taught at Princeton. He is currently a university professor at the University of Toronto and a Canada Research Chair. He originated the theory of classical wave localization and in particular the localization of light in three-dimensional strongly scattering dielectrics. He co-invented the concept of photonic band gap materials, providing a systematic route to his original conception of the localization of light.

Prof. John has won numerous awards and is a fellow of the American Physical Society, the Royal Society of Canada and the Optical Society of America.
The Elizabeth R. Laird Lecture was established by a bequest from Dr. Elizabeth Laird, a prominent Canadian physicist who held posts at Yale, Cambridge, Chicago, Mount Holyoke and Western Ontario, in the first half of the 20th century.

Dr. John's public lecture will take place Sept. 28, at 7:30 p.m., in the Bruneau Centre, room 2001 (Innovation Hall). Admission is free and a reception will follow.