Quantum Science and Engineering are the base of photonics and nanoscience and technology. In recent years, the ability to create practical structures on the nanoscale has created true quantum engineering, including much of the technology of optical communications. At the same time, quantum science has blossomed, as enabled by optical and nanofabrication technologies, into radical new areas of science, such as Bose condensation, and entire new fields such as quantum information.
Nanoscience and Engineering exploit controllable fabrication of materials and structures on a deeply submicron scale. This allows entirely new classes of structures, such as carbon nanotubes, photonic crystals, and micro- and nano-mechanical structures to be created and investigated, both for their scientific properties and their potential for optical, electronic, and sensing and actuating devices. The inevitable desire for more miniaturization is a continuing trend that will drive much of this work. Other radical opportunities are created because materials engineered at the nanoscale can have optical, electrical, mechanical and other properties that cannot be engineered with conventional materials.
Photonic Science and Engineering include essentially everything to do with light and optics, and especially those processes and devices involving photons and their interaction with the material world. Much of the science of quantum mechanics, including new fields such as quantum information, makes heavy use of photonic science and technology. The growing field of nanophotonics is exploiting nanofabrication techniques to make new classes of optical and optoelectronic devices, and is borrowing and extending many intellectual concepts from quantum mechanics and solid state physics. In applications, photonics is playing a crucial and growing role in communicating information, where it is the only viable way of sending large amounts of information with low energy cost over any substantial distance. An increasing role can also be seen in sensing, where optics often offers a non-destructive and remote way of looking at biological systems or at the environment, for example. Photonic processes lie at the core of all forms of solar power generation.
Applications addressed by the Ginzton Lab includethe next generation of instruments and physical techniques for environmental, biological and medical sciences, new technologies for information sensing, communication and processing, including the next generations of photonic and nanotechnology devices, and new approaches to energy generation and efficiency.
The Ginzton Lab pioneered the concept of a truly interdisciplinary science and engineering laboratory, and has a remarkable record of science, innovation and real impact over its more than 50 year history. The Lab moved into state-of-the-art facilities in the recently-completed Spilker Engineering and Applied Sciences building in Stanford’s new Science and Engineering quad in 2010. The combination of vibrant new areas and fields and applications in these stimulating surroundings continues this remarkable interdisciplinary approach into the 21st century.