Author Archives: amos

Amos Martinez: From LiFi to metamaterials to microscopy, a look at AIPT’s seminars

This year I have been asked to help with the organization of the seminars at AIPT and I am enjoying the experience so far. If you are ever asked to get in charge of organizing the seminars, go for it!

Sure, it takes away much needed time working in the lab, working on proposals and collaborations or just reading or writing papers, but, on the other hand, it gives a great opportunity to interact with scientists and researchers from all walks of life “light”.

After a slow start of the year the seminar series is truly gaining momentum. Just have a look at the breadth and depth of topics and invited speakers over the past few weeks and some of the upcoming talks at the end of this post.

I believe the broad range of topics  clear reflects AIPT’s broad range of interests, something that impressed me when I first came back to Aston.

But it all starts and ends with the speakers, all of whom I must thank for taking time of their busy schedules to visit us and delivering such interesting and inspiring talks.

PANO_20160531_113250 Picture: Prof. Harald Haas from the University of Edinburgh sharing his vision on how LiFi can change the world. Also attending the seminar Yuri Kivshar, another of our  upcoming speakers and distinguished visitors. Photo credit: Srikanth Sugavanam


Dr Arun Harish and Dr Tom Harvey Healthcare Photonics at CPI

Time: 11.30am, 7 June 2016


Prof.Yuri Kivshar, Nonlinear Physics Centre, Australian National University, Canberra

Metamaterials and metasurfaces

Time: 10.30am, 10 June 2016


Prof.Zhipei Sun, Department of Micro- and Nanosciences, Aalto University

Nanoscale nonlinear optics with low-dimensional nanomaterials

Time: 11am, 13th June 2016



Professor Harald Haas, the University of Edinburgh

LiFi: Conceptions, Misconceptions and Opportunities 


Prof. Nikolay Zheludev, Optoelectronics Research Centre, Southampton, Photonics Institute, NTU,Singapore

Metamaterials: Optical Properties on Demand


Dr. Oleg Mitrofanov, University College London

Terahertz near-field microscopy: methods and applications


Dr.Irina Kabakova, ICJR Fellow at Imperial College London

Brillouin microscopy and endoscopy for stiffness measurements of biological tissues


Dr. Nikola Alic, UCSD

State of the art frequency combs and their applications in optical communications


Dr. Lina Persechini, Associate Editor in Nature Communication

Introduction to Nature Communications: Aims and Scope


Dr Donald Govan, Oclaro Technology Ltd, UK

CFP2: Coherent Pluggable Optics 


Prof. Moti Fridman, Bar Ilan University, Israel

Spontaneous PT symmetry breaking with topological insulators

Dr. Haider Butt, Micro Engineering and Nanotechnology, University of Birmingham,UK

Holographic laser ablation for nanophotonic devices 


Prof. Tiegen Liu, Opto-electronic Information Technology,Ministry of Education,China

Hybrid Optical Fibre Sensing Theory and Methods 


AIPT Half-day Meeting: Orbital Angular Momentum in Optical Fibre Communications

Prof Siddharth Ramachandran, Boston University, USA

Singular light in fibres: beams that can do what Gaussians cannot

Dr Martin Lavery, Glasgow University, UK

Orbital Angular Momentum – past, present, and future

Dr Mirco Scaffardi, CNIT Pisa, Italy

Revolutionising optical transmission and networking using the OAM of light

Prof. Kestutis Staliunas, ICREA,Barcelona, Spain
Photonic crystals for spatial filtering

Dr. Pascal Del’Haye, National Physical Laboratory, UK
Self-Referencing of a Microresonator Optical Frequency Comb


Amos Martinez: Not about Gravitational waves-Science and Society

Two weeks ago, physicists at the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) announced that they had finally detected gravitational waves. These ripples in spacetime were first predicted by Einstein and his general relativity theory.

Einstein never believed that we would have the technological capacity to observe these waves, they were too weak to catch. Of course, neither Einstein nor anybody could have predicted the amazing scientific advances that were to take place over the following 100 years.

The announcement from LIGO was preceded by rumours that rapidly spread through social media and it was heavily covered by all news outlets. This maybe common in football transfers or when a politician or banker is caught with his/her hand in the cookie jar, but these are extremely rare events when we talk about Physics and scientific discoveries.

Of course, this is Einstein and Einstein and Einstein’s discoveries and theories are the exception that confirms the rule, he was and remains a pop icon as the image below demonstrates.


Andy Warhol’s Einstein

Richard Feynman with his exuberant personality is another exception of a physicist impacting mainstream media. But what about the others, the great majority? Those scientists who have contributed, in some cases enormously, to shape the world and society we live in today, yet, they remain mostly unknown.

Let’s play a little game of contemporaries:

James Clerk Maxwell (1831-1879) and Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865). I would bet anybody reading this knows who Lincoln was, but, unless you studied physics or other physical science discipline you wouldn’t know Maxwell. Yet, while it would be hard to pinpoint any influence of Lincoln in today’s way of life and society, Maxwell’s is everywhere, from the internet to the mobile phones to the detection of the gravitational waves or quantum mechanics. Over the next 100 years his influence will continue to grow. In the words of Richard Feynman “From a long view of the history of mankind-seen from, say, ten thousand years from now-there can be little doubt that the most significant event of the 19th century will be judged as Maxwell’s discovery of the laws of electrodynamics”.

Let’s play one more round:

Charles H. Townes (1915-2015) and John F. Kennedy (1917-1963). Sure, we could have chosen other important figures in politics or in social movements like Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela or whoever you may think, but let’s stick to US presidents. Likewise, we could have chosen other scientist such as Max Plank or Neils Bohr or even more recently, Charles Kao. While one may claim that Kennedy’s influence in society is still significant, Townes’ with his contributions to the discovery of the laser, is everywhere. Lasers are now present in almost every aspect of life from medicine to manufacturing to scientific research to entertainment and laser based technologies are defining the way we interact with each other and with the outside world. Yet, most people have never heard of Charles Townes or the other Laser physics pioneers.

So, what is my point? You may say, scientists should not chase social recognition. Sure, Van Gogh probably did not paint to sell his paintings, but I am sure selling a couple would have made his afternoon absinthe taste sweeter.

My point is, if society can get interested in gravitational waves and neutrinos, they can surely become interested in, often easier to grasp, science. And, increased recognition, followed by increased understanding of what researchers do, will attract more and better people to science and that will benefit all.

Amos Martinez: Returning to Aston – First Impressions

My name is Amos, I have recently joined the Aston Institute of Photonic Technology as a Marie Curie Fellow and I have been given the opportunity to share my experiences in this blog. I am looking forward to explore and exploit this platform. I will share my thoughts, my hits and my misses. So, thank you for reading this blog, I am looking forward to your comments!

My experience as a Marie Curie Fellow, at least on these early days, will probably be different to that of other fellows since I am already very familiar with the city of Birmingham and Aston University. In fact, I completed my PhD in Aston in 2006 and by joining my old research group, the Aston Institute of Photonic Technologies (AIPT), I am joining many old friends and colleagues that have already been helping me enormously and have made me feel at home from the very first day.

But, since I left the UK in 2006, the Aston Institute of Photonics Technology has not only changed its name (it used to be known as the Photonics Research Group) but it has also aggressively expanded, attracting a number of world-class scientists over the last few years. These new additions are contributing to expanding the breadth of expertise of the group and cementing its position as one of the leading photonic research centres in the UK.

I must express my gratitude to all those newer members of the AIPT, since, without exception, they have been opened to hear my ideas, plans and thoughts and have opened their labs to me on these first few weeks.


Picture: Friendly basketball match between the Vinča Institute (Belgrade) and the Aston Institute of Photonic Technologies. During Photonica 2015, we lost, perhaps expectedly, 54-30!

I will use this blog to talk about me, my research project, scientific interests and my thoughts about returning to academic research, but this is a great year to celebrate light, optics and photonics after the United Nations have proclaimed the year 2015 as the International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies.  So I will also use this blog to introduce outreach activities such as the upcoming Lightfest that will take place on the Library of Birmingham on 25th September 2015.


It will be great event, Do not miss it!