In this talk, I discuss the role of symmetry breaking in nano-optics, photonics, electromagnetics and acoustics, to tailor and engineer wave phenomena. I will overview a range of low-symmetry natural and artificial materials whose interactions with light and sound are tailored and enhanced through geometrical and/or temporal symmetry breaking. Special opportunities arise when considering systems in which light and matter are strongly coupled, as in the case of polaritonics, for which extreme linear and nonlinear responses are unveiled by controlling the underlying symmetries. I will also discuss the role of symmetry breaking to induce nonreciprocal and topological wave phenomena and the various opportunities they enable for photonic technologies.
Bio: Andrea Alù is the Founding Director and Einstein Professor at the Photonics Initiative, Advanced Science Research Center, City University of New York. He received his Laurea (2001) and PhD (2007) from the University of Roma Tre, Italy, and joined the faculty at the University of Texas at Austin in 2009, where he was the Temple Foundation Endowed Professor until 2018. Dr. Alù is a Fellow of NAI, AAAS, IEEE, MRS, OSA, SPIE and APS. His research interests focus on electromagnetics, nano-optics and photonics, polaritonics, wave physics and acoustics. He is a Highly Cited Researcher, a Simons Investigator and the director of the Simons Collaboration on Extreme Wave Phenomena, and has received several scientific awards, including the Blavatnik National Award in Physical Sciences and Engineering, the NSF Alan T. Waterman award, the AAAFM Heeger Award, the Dan Maydan Prize in Nanoscience, the IEEE Kiyo Tomiyasu Award, the Vannevar Bush Faculty Fellowship from DoD, the ICO Prize in Optics, the OSA Adolph Lomb Medal, and the URSI Issac Koga Gold Medal.