Assistant Professors Ajit Srivastava and Hayk Harutyunyan awarded $2,000,000 NSF-EFRI grant

Light propagation is typically reciprocal which can be summed up by the familiar observation: "If I can see you, you can see me." Emory Physicists Ajit Srivastava and Hayk Harutyunyan, in collaboration with a multi-university team comprising of Tony Heinz and David Miller (Stanford University) and Mark Stockman (Georgia State University), have secured $2,000,000 grant from NSF to break optical reciprocity in nanoscale devices. One way of achieving non-reciprocity is to use magnets which can allow one-way propagation of light. However, magnet-based non-reciprocal devices tend to be bulky and are difficult to miniaturize.
Their project aims to utilize atomically thin crystals to achieve this goal and realize magnet-free, miniaturized, optical devices and circuit elements. This will allow for faster optical switches and defect-insensitive propagation on a reduced footprint. They will also provide science education and research experiences in cutting-edge technologies to middle school, undergraduate and graduate students, including those students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities, enhancing the science and engineering workforce of tomorrow.