Growing structures at the nanoscale is one of the most difficult and pressing problems holding back nanotechnology. New ways have to be found to control complex arrangements of different atoms inside materials with novel functionality, avoiding expensive traditional fabrication methods. Using light to control growth is a highly promising new advance.
Optical growth of Ge nanowires
Optical growth of conducting bridges
Key paper: Mertens et al., Nano Letters (2016)
|Optical growth of carbon nanotubes
By focussing intense lasers onto nanoparticle catalysts in a thin gas of acetylene, we use light to grow carbon nanotubes selectively at any position on a substrate. This completely new way to grow nanostructures opens up the possibility of delicately controlling growth at the smallest scales.
|Optically written arc waveguides Light is normally injected into photonic circuits on a chip from the side, which makes them expensive to make and difficult to align. Using short pulses of light, absorbed two photons at a time, to directly write structures in polymers, we make any shape of optical waveguide that can couple light from the top into any direction.|
 “Optical feedback mechanisms in laser-induced growth of carbon-nanotube forests”, Appl.Phys.Lett. 100, 013112 (2012)
 “Perpendicular coupling to in-plane photonics using arc waveguides,” Appl.Phys.Lett. 100 171102 (2012)