Nonlinear Optics

The group aims at exploiting light-matter interactions to identify new strategies for the manipulation, control, shaping, and processing of light beams and signals. Our current main activities are focused in nonlinear optical processes, where “light acts on itself” inside suitable materials. This includes applications to all-optical photonic devices, imaging, and quantum optics.

Main research topics:

- Optical solitons, rogue waves and shock waves;

- Frequency conversion, harmonic generation;

- Supercontinuum generation.

- Nonlinear optics at the nanoscale.

- Nonlinear dynamics of epsilon-near-zero materials.


We develop theory and numerical models to understand how photons interact with nanostructures in the linear and nonlinear regimes. Our efforts are devoted to conceive new devices able to foster light-matter interactions at the nanoscale to facilitate the generation, propagation, manipulation, and detection of light from the infrared to the ultraviolet. 

Applications and goals range from small scale photon sources and on-chip light modulators to solar cells and spectroscopy.

Main research topics:

- Photonics in two-dimensional materials; 

- Plasmonics;

- Dielectric optical antennas;

- Photonic crystal and microstructure fibers; 

Optical Communications

Optical fibers provide the backbone of the world’s interconnected web of data, voice, and streaming communications which is the basis of the information society. Optical networks range from transoceanic cables to datacenter interconnects and fiber-to-the-home service delivery. In order to avoid a capacity crunch at all levels of the optical network, a constant effort in research and innovation is necessary. We are tackling such effort in various directions as outlined below.

Main research topics:

- All-optical polarization control;

- Optical frequency combs;

- Spatio-temporal nonlinear effects in multimode fibers;

- Ultrashort pulse generation and fiber laser dynamics;

- Nonlinearity compensation in optical communication systems.


The dynamic interaction between light and matter presents intriguing scenarios where light can be harnessed to adjust and manipulate the form and properties of objects. Specifically, in materials and systems endowed with optical absorption, light can dissipate and generate heat, consequently leading to an increase in system temperature. Consequently, thermal expansion of the system may occur. Simultaneously, light can impart optical momentum to the matter. Owing to these phenomena, light can be utilized to regulate the temperature, shape, and positioning of nano-objects. Moreover, the interplay between optics and thermodynamics can be utilized to induce a phase transition in systems featuring phase-change materials, resulting in a reversible or permanent alteration of properties within the system through the utilization of a light source.

Main research topics:

- Opto-thermics

- Opto-mechanics

- Optically induced phase change in nanoscale systems featuring phase-change materials (e.g. VO2, GST, etc.)

- Optical tunability

- Optical deformation of nano-structures

Antennas and Microwaves

We design, fabricate and test planar antennas for a wide set of communication systems (WLAN, UWB and RFID). Our attention has been focused on increasing the directivity of compact antennas printed on low-cost substrates. State of the art solutions based on electromagnetic bandgap metamaterials and unconventional plastic substrates are also investigated.

Main research topics:

- Printed antennas for WLAN and UWB;

- Antennas for RFID;

- Feeding networks for printed antennas;

- Electromagnetic bandgap devices