Director's Colloquium

In a tight spot — What to do with light in small places

Professor Stefan Maier
School of Physics and Astronomy, Monash University

Nanophotonics is the science of light in small spaces — confining electromagnetic radiation to volumes below the diffraction limit. Tricking waves to stay well-behaved on such small length scales is a hard task. In my talk I will outline why it is worth doing, focusing on three aspects — the enhancement of interactions between light and matter, controlling light propagation at will via manipulating Snell’s Law, and conversion of energy from the electromagnetic field to other forms such as chemical bonds or acoustic surface waves.

Via a number of examples from my research group over the years, I will endeavour to give you an overview of the field and demonstrate how nanophotonics has an impact on all areas of science and technology where control over light plays an important role.

Prof. Stefan Maier left Germany after three years of undergraduate studies in Physics at the Technical University of Munich to enrol in the Applied Physics graduate programme at Caltech, where he obtained his M.Sc and Ph.D in the early 2000s. He then joined the University of Bath in the United Kingdom as a Lecturer, and in 2007 moved to Imperial College London as Reader. He stayed at Imperial full-time until 2018; during this time he served as Director of Postgraduate Studies and as Head of Experimental Solid State Physics. In 2016 he obtained the College’s endowed Lee Lucas Chair in Experimental Physics, and from 2019 to 2022 built up a new chair at the University of Munich (LMU), before joining Monash as Head of School in Physics and Astronomy. He has over the years been fortunate to mentor an amazing group of early career researchers and PhD students, 21 of those now in faculty positions all over the world. Stefan has been on the ISI Highly Cited list since 2017.

Date & time

Fri 13 Oct 2023, 11am–12pm



Physics Auditorium


Staff, students and public welcome