What has the ATTRACT seed funding enabled you to do so far?
The ATTRACT funding has allowed us to pursue a novel platform for beam steering consisting of a metasurface that can be turned on or off. The device consists of a MEMS mirror which can be moved electronically, mounted on a glass plate with gold nanostructures. The nanostructures function as a metasurface when the gold mirror is close enough to enable gap plasmon polaritons.
What challenges have you faced so far?
The main challenge is to bring the gold mirror close enough to the nanostructures. The designed separation distance is around 50 nm, and any small particles or defects caught between the mirror and glass plate make this impossible. Currently the smallest measured separation we have achieved is around 150 nm.
Where does your ATTRACT journey go from here?
Based on our results so far, we have designed and made several new versions of the glass substrate with gold nanostructures. The most promising versions have already been mounted to mirrors and have been tested showing promising results. Our plan is to continue mounting metasurfaces and hopefully obtain a sample which provides sufficient small separation distance to demonstrate the beam shifting property of the metasurface. In the long run, such a demonstration can pave the way for attaining funding for a new MEMS production run in which the issue of particle contaminants can be dramatically reduced.
Sum up in two sentences the advantages of the ATTRACT Programme over other research funding schemes.
We highly appreciate the idea of a simple application process leading to a PoC project, which in turn can qualify for further funding.