The research work from the Physics Department has been published in Physical Review Research, one of the highly selective journals


Zhumabek with Prof. C. Valagiannopoulos employed analytical and numerical techniques to predict the most promising photonic nanomaterials for future devices requiring smart design and packaging with a broad range of applications in thermal conversion, optical sensing, light modulation and detection.

Tilek Zhumabek is a second year Master of Science in Physics student with BSc in Physics degree from Satbayev National Research Technical University in Almaty. After a relatively short time at Nazarbayev University, Tilek has been very proactive in seeking research opportunities and with the hard work and excellent guidance by Prof. Constantinos Valagiannopoulos has achieved his first manuscript accepted for publication in Physical Review Research, one of the highly selective journals in the prestigious “Physical Review” family published by the American Physical Society since 1893.

The title of the article is “Light trapping by arbitrarily thin cavities”, it studies theoretically the absorption of light by artificial materials structured at the nanometer scale, namely anisotropic media comprising plasmonic multilayers. The goal of the study was to test different base materials, such as gold, platinum, aluminum, copper, silver etc, and find optimal parameters of ultrathin materials to achieve perfect absorption with the most wideband operation, i.e. create materials able to trap all incoming solar energy. These studies also accounted for difficulties in fabricating such designs, e.g. aluminum was found to display the highest robustness to fabrication defects while platinum was the worst performer.

We identify simple layered structures able to collect light, no matter how thin they are. The effective path length of the ray into the film is increased unboundedly by properly tilting the optical axis and, thus, the incident wave is forced to reflect infinite times in-between the lossy layers, before exiting the cavity. Our designs can be used in a range of optical devices from photovoltaic cells and photonic circuits to photonic signal processors and smartphones,- says prof Valagiannopoulos.