Ph.D. student Valerio Mazzone wins best paper award

KAUST Ph.D. student Valerio Mazzone recently won the paper award at 9th International Conference on Metamaterials, Photonic Crystals and Plasmonics. File photo.

-By Sonia Turosienski, KAUST News

Valerio Mazzone, a Ph.D. student in the Primalight group based in the University's Computer, Electrical and Mathematical Science and Engineering Division (CEMSE), was awarded the best paper award at the 9th International Conference on Metamaterials, Photonic Crystals and Plasmonics (META), which took place from June 24 to July 1.

Mazzone's paper entitled "Near-field coupling and mode competition in anapole system" demonstrated that it is possible to design a new type of fully optical neural networks by using dielectric nano-lasers that are characterized by an invisible emission.

"The impact is huge. Indeed, if we put together many of them, the nano-lasers will interact as in a neural network and produce different outcomes. In our research, we showed that the system can be designed to produce ultrafast optical pulses with controllable period and time duration," Mazzone explained. "Today, pulsed lasers can cost around $500,000, and they occupy a large macroscopic space. Our structure can produce similar dynamics in an optical chip with a footprint of 15 micrometers long at a cost of less than $10."

"META is among the most prestigious conferences in the field of meta-materials. Participating gave me the chance to interact and gain different perspectives from the people who are leading photonics research," he added.

Ph.D. student Valerio Mazzone is part of KAUST Associate Professor Andrea Fratalocchi's Primalight research group. File photo.

"This [win] is an example of the innovative and creative research we are stimulating in our students. Other than this project, Valerio also worked on the development of a new unbreakable optical cryptographic chip, which is now in the patenting stage at KAUST. I am very excited to see these outcomes going to market," noted Andrea Fratalocchi, associate professor of electrical engineering and principal investigator of Primalight.

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