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Optics, Nanostructures and Quantum Fluids Laboratory                         

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·         Nano-swimmers and nano-structured surfaces  in optics and soft matter physics

 


    We are currently working on a variety of interdisciplinary problems, which are both fundamental and applied in nature. Examples include light-matter interactions in chiral molecules and surfaces, low Reynolds number hydrodynamics of nanoscale chiral objects, and the fabrication of nano-structured optical materials. Very recently, we have fabricated nano-structured surfaces, which can be used as substrates in SERS (Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy) for label-free detection of biomaterials, such as virus, bacteria etc. Preliminary results show a SERS enhancement of 108, which is 100 times better than typical commercial substrates. In another project, using nano-structured surfaces, we have made the smallest artificial swimmers till date, which can be propelled through liquids with unprecedented control and precision. This simple method of realizing well-controlled nano-swimmers in large numbers has opened up exciting possibilities and applications in micro-fluidics and nano-rheological studies, in delivering and mixing of chemicals, and will also allow the potential use of artificial swimmers for biomedical applications to be explored.

 

·         Electron bubbles in superfluid helium

 

   

                An electron in liquid helium resides in a small cavity (called an electron bubble) of radius, about 2 nanometres. This system is one of the most fundamental representations of a “particle in a box”, and is an excellent probe to study novel phenomena in superfluid helium, including the nature of quantized vortices and quasiparticles. In recent years, the usage of a novel acousto-optic technique has facilitated the detection of single electron bubbles, which is expected to give rise to a wide variety of new scientific finding.