So I am back at CLEO for the third time teaching my short course on Finite Element Method again.
I had a busy 3.5 hours with the course, interacting with about 20 attendees who came to the course. It was much fun and afterwards I had two very interesting conversations on applying numerical methods:
- what is the best method to use (BPM or FDTD) to study propagation and scattering in media with subwavelength disorder?
- in highly dispersive materials close to epsillon being 0 (so resonances are present) how does one study non-linear effects in periodic structures where feature shape and size are important?
These sort of discussions are so exciting because they open my mind to new areas and challenge me to think about applying my knowledge and expertise in ways.
But that was not all.
In talks I attended an invited talk on Optical Properties of Black Phosphorous (BP) stood out for me. This was in Session SW1R, the first talk by Xiamou Wang of Yale University. The authors gave some intriguing glimpses into what was a new topic for me. Graphene by now is well known as a 2D material. BP was a new material to me. It seems that it lies somewhere between Graphene and other Two Dimensional Materials (TDMs) such as Molybdenum DiSulphide. BP bridges the optical and electronic gaps.
The optical gap of Graphene is 0, while that of TDMs is large, BP is about 1.3eV for monolayer BP . The electronic gap bridge comes about because Graphene has low on/off ratio and high electronic mobility, while TDMs have high on/off ratio and low mobility. BP has a medium on/off ratio and medium mobility.
Certainly of the 70 odd 2D materials available BP seems to be the new exciting thing! So it gives me something new to learn!
Some papers mentioned in the talk that you may want to look at:
PNAS, 112, 4253, 2015
Nano Letters, 14, 6414, 2014
Nature Photonics, 9, 247, 2015
Then there was the special symposium to mark 20 years of Photonic Crystal Fibers. In the symposium I really enjoyed the talk by Arnaud Mussot (SW1I.3) on topographic fibers. The central idea here is that the outer diameter (and through that the modal properties such as dispersion, non-linearity etc.) of the fiber can be varied along the length of the fiber. This variation can be sinusoidal or in some cases follow other profiles too. The applications discussed were on modulation instability, solitons. Though ofcourse there are many others. Some papers mentioned in the talk that you may want to look at:
Optics Letters, 37, 4832, 2012;
Physical Review A, 87, 013813, 2013;
Optics Express 23, 3869, 2015;
Optics Letters 40, 455, 2015;
Physical Review Letters, 116, 143901, 2016.
But that wasn’t all!
The event on Climbing the Ladder brought together 4 panellists who spoke of their career journeys. This was followed by lunch in which people sat in “mentor” or “mentee” chairs and talked to establish a mentor-mentee relationship.
So many of us feel we need some career advice (how to get a post-doc, how to change jobs, where to move to etc.) but we dont know whom to ask or how to find a good mentor. this was an opportunity to meet some excellent mentors and ask these questions, and perhaps start a longer relationship.
For mentors this was an opportunity to give back to the community by supporting the next generation of professionals and leaders. Helping them navigate the choppy waters of education, careers and the intersection with personal life.
All in all it has been a superbusy and extremely rewarding time at CLEO, meeting people and networking, learning new things.
I hope I will see you there too in the future!