Dr Rakesh Arul

Rakesh Arul

SpecialisationPhysics and Astrophysics
Research interestsPhotonics is the science of how light works and how light can do work. In his research Dr Arul creates the optical sensors of tomorrow by trapping and concentrating light to atomic scales with nanoparticles that are a thousand times smaller than the width of a human hair.
During his PhD he designed new optical sensors to detect infrared light. The colours of molecules in the infrared, invisible to the naked eye, contain rich information about their chemical structure and identity. Being able to ‘see’ this invisible IR world has enabled disease diagnosis, art conservation, greenhouse gas monitoring and the stunning images of exoplanets. Despite such promise, IR detection remains far from democratised due to the costs and limited practical utility of existing technologies. During his PhD Dr Arul invented a new technology for IR detection by trapping IR light to the nanoscale and converting it into detectable visible light.
As a Research Fellow, Dr Arul hopes to combine physics with chemistry, and use light to control chemical reactions. By forming a new state of matter that is part light and part molecule, he aims to use light as a radical new tool to control chemical transformations that create sustainable fuels, such as hydrogen. He will also investigate and create new kinds of matter displaying exotic quantum behaviour that is impossible without extremely strong interaction between light and molecules.
Office: A2 Chapel Court