IAS Benjamin Meaker Visiting Professor Eugene Bogomolny, CNRS, Paris-SUD, France


Whispering galleries for light: beyond the two-dimensional approximation

2 January - 31 March 2018


Professor Bogomolny received his PhD at the Institute of Theoretical and Experimental Physics  (ITEP) in Moscow. He then worked at the L. D. Landau Institute of Theoretical Physics, first as research fellow and later as research director. In 1992 he moved to Orsay near Paris where he received a CNRS research director position at the Université Paris-Sud in the Laboratory of Theoretical Physics and Statistical Models (LPTMS). These are prestigious positions in France that allow scientists to work purely on their research. In 2011 he was promoted to a CNRS research director of the exceptional class.


Whispering gallery waves are not restricted to sound waves and in recent times they have found prominence in micro- and nano-optics. Light can be confined in the form of whispering gallery waves to small micron-sized disks or spheres that are made of transparent dielectric (nonconductive) material. This confinement is due to an effect called total internal reflection that keeps light rays from escaping when they bounce along the boundary at shallow angles, and it has a large range of applications. Among them are the construction of miniature lasers, filters or switches in optical communication, detectors for nanoparticles and molecules and on the theoretical side, the calculation of whispering gallery waves in thin dielectric disks relies on treating a disk as a two-dimensional object and taking account of its thickness only in a material constant. Although commonly used, this approximation cannot be justified rigorously and no error estimates can be given, and its validity was questioned by some recent experimental results. We intend to go beyond the two-dimensional approximation and investigate its validity for some simple geometries where rigorous methods, called Wiener-Hopf methods, can be applied.

During his stay in Bristol Professor Bogomolny will be hosted by Dr Martin Sieber (Mathematics)

Professor Bogomolny will offer the following activities: