January 23, 2014
Colloquium Speaker: Willie Padilla
Willie Padilla received both MS and PhD degrees in Physics from the University of California in San Diego, and his thesis work, completed in 2004, was for investigation of the THz, infrared, optical and magneto-optic properties of novel materials utilizing various spectroscopic methods, including Fourier transform spectroscopy and ellipsometry. He was an author on the “discovery” paper on Negative Index (NI) materials, or metamaterials, and a main contributor to demonstrating artificial magnetic response at THz frequencies. He was awarded a Director’s Postdoctoral Fellowship from Los Alamos National Laboratory and worked in the laboratory for ultrafast optics. His postdoctoral work at Los Alamos focused on terahertz time domain spectroscopy of novel materials. In 2006 he joined the Department of Physics at Boston College and is currently a Full Professor. His scientific interests include artificially structured systems including metamaterials, active/dynamic metamaterials, photonics, nano-structured materials, transformation optics and negative index materials. He is an expert in infrared, terahertz time domain, microwave, and magneto-optical spectroscopy. In 2007 he was awarded a Young Investigator Award from the Office of Naval Research and Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) in 2011. In 2012 Professor Padilla was elected a Fellow of the Optical Society of America and a Kavli Frontiers of Science Fellow in 2013.
Designer electromagnetic materials, known as metamaterials, have enabled novel realizations of negative index of refraction, invisibility cloaks, and perfect lenses. Metamaterials is now a decade old mature research field and focus has shifted toward demonstration of applications. Recently near unity absorption has been achieved with metamaterials and results show that the fundamental light interactions of surfaces may be reconfigured at will. We show dynamic multifunctional metamaterials operating at terahertz and infrared frequencies which enable novel applications ranging from coded aperture single pixel imaging and sparse imaging to blackbody controlled emission and artificial thermochromism.