Photonic Nanostructure Facility (PNaF)

Photonic Nanostructure Facility (PNaF)

Research topics

We use light to drive small (or very small) mechanical devices, including swimming and walking micro-robots. Using two-photon photolithography (Nanoscribe) we make new structures with interesting optical properties in the micron scale. In 2020 we started a four year long project to build a Stimulated Raman Microscopy platform for identification of leukaemic cells.

Optical properties of dielectric micro- and nanostructures

With 3D, two-photon photolithography (Nanoscribe) we can quickly fabricate dielectric (polymer) structures with the characteristic dimensions below one micron. We are looking for geometries with interesting light transformation properties, e.g. for spectral filtering or polarization management. Besides the experimental part, we have access to the most advanced numerical simulations of light propagation in near- and sub-wavelength structures. Photo: an array of diffractive colour filters in the "forest of pillars" geometry.

Micro-robotics and micro-mechanics with Liquid Crystal Elastomers

Liquid crystal elastomers (LCE) are smart materials that can, e.g. reversibly change shape upon illumination with laser light. The deformation topology depends on the element shape as well as on the molecular order. We are looking for methods of LCE components fabrication in the millimeter to micrometer scale for application in photonics, microrobotics or lab-on-chip devices. Photo: life size water strider robot with LCE muscle.

3D micromechanical devices

With 3D printing in photocurable resins we can rapidly prototype elements in the tens-of-microns scale. One example are tools for multi-beam holographic optical tweezers used for studying mechanical properties of e.g. cell membranes. Photo: optical tweezer tools with conical probe; the balls are 8 microns in diameter.

Femtosecond laser physics and technology

For several years we have been developing techniques for femtosecond laser pulse generation, manipulation and diagnostics. These include solid state (Ti:Sapphire, Yb:KYW) and fiber pulsed lasers. We have built many unique femtosecond pulse diagnostic tools. Photo: the first 1GHz Yb:KYW femtosecond laser prototype.

Opto-electronic engineering

With leading European laser companies we are developing diagnostics and frequency conversion devices for femtosecond lasers. We design and build complex prototypes integrating optics, electronics and mechanics. Photo: compact spectral shearing interferometer (SPIDER) designed and built at the University of Oxford.

Stimulated Raman Microscopy for leukemia cell imaging

The project „A platform for fast, label-free imaging, identification and sorting of leukemic cell sub-types”, funded by the Foundation for Polish Science (FNP) between 2019-2023, aims to build an integrated microscope platform for recognizing (and sorting) the subtypes of leukemic cells using stimulated Raman scattering (SRS). Our group is responsible for the integration of the laser, microscope and image recognition systems to the level of a clinical-test-ready device.