Congratulations to Professor Hui Deng (lead PI), Professor Stephen Forrest (co-PI), and their project team as being one of twenty-three recipient teams of the Department of Defense Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) program this year. The team members partnering with Michigan include another 5 co-PIs from University of Texas, Austin, University of California, Berkeley, and University of Pittsburgh and 3 collaborators from the national lab and international institutes from Argonne National Laboratory/University of Chicago, University of St. Andrews in the United Kingdom, and Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.

The goal of the project, "Room-Temperature: Two-Dimensional Polaritronics with van der Waals Heterostructures” is to establish a versatile room-temperature polariton system as a bridge from the discovery of new many-body phenomena to novel photonic technologies.

Exciton-polaritons are quasi-particles in semiconductors, formed by strongly coupling electronic excitations with light. They naturally combine strong electronic nonlinearity with robust, wavelength-scale coherence of light, all on a chip-platform with a natural optical interface – providing an accessible experimental platform for both interesting many-body physics and new photonic devices. Yet they have only been created in very limited types of micro-structures and mostly at cryogenic temperatures, due to limitations of conventional semiconductors. Recently, a large family of semiconductors have been discovered, made of two-dimensional van der Waals crystals. They have very strong electronic interaction and exciton-light interaction energies due to the reduced dimensionality; they also allow unprecedented flexibility for integration with different nanostructures and materials. Creating a polariton system using those two-dimensional materials therefore opens a door to novel phenomena and device concepts inaccessible before.

“The MURI award will enable us to pursue a new paradigm in polariton research with a myriad exciting opportunities in fundamental physics, materials science, and novel device concepts,” said Hui Deng, Associate Professor of Physics.

The five-year, $6.25 million MURI project awarded by the Army Research Office will support a multi-disciplinary effort that concentrates on major advances in materials and structures, polariton physics, and new phenomena enabled by two-dimensional van der Waals crystals. Potential applications include room temperature polariton condensate and superfluidity for new types of light emitters, collector, and routers with low power threshold and high energy efficiency.

More information about the MURI program here.