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Cooper Lecture Series: Prof. Won Park

Nanophotonic Enhancement of Luminescence Upconversion - Principles and Biomedical Applications

Dr. Wounjhang Park
University of Colorodo Boulder

Friday, March 8, 2019 at 11:30 a.m.
G09 White Hall

Abstract:  Nanophotonics offer a highly effective mechanism for strong localization of light and local field enhancement. Naturally there has been extensive research worldwide for their applications in
various fields of photonics and optics. One of the latest emerging frontiers in nanophotonics
research is the study of nanophotonic enhancement of nonlinear optical processes. Among them,
luminescence upconversion has attracted much interest. In contrast to the nonlinear susceptibility
based frequency conversion processes, luminescence upconversion is efficient even when excited
by incoherent light with low intensity. This prompted much interest for potential applications in
areas such as solar energy conversion and bioimaging where traditional nonlinear optics have not
been used.

In this talk, I will start with an introduction to surface plasmon, photonic crystal and frequency
upconversion processes and then present the electrodynamic principles governing the
luminescence upconversion process in a photonic nanostructure. I will then present our
spectroscopic studies on the photonically enhanced luminescence upconversion, which identified
the enhancement mechanisms and factors for all processes involved in the luminescence
upconversion. Finally, I will present a new therapeutic approach for bladder cancer based on
plasmon-upconversion nanoclusters. Our plasmon-upconversion nanoclusters allows for high
sensitivity detection of cancer cells via upconversion luminescence. Upon detection, the cells are
immediately treated by photothermal, photodynamic or optoporation therapies. For this, we
developed techniques of synthesizing plasmon-upconversion nanoclusters and bioconjugation
with antibody to epidermal growth factor receptor for cancer targeting. I will show the latest
results from our in vitro and in vivo experiments, which clearly show the potential of this


Speaker: Dr. Wounjhang (Won) Park receivedhis Ph.D. from Georgia Institute of Technology. He then worked as Post-Doctoral Fellow and Research Scientist II at the Georgia Tech Research Institute until he joined the faculty of University of Colorado Boulder where he is currently Sheppard Professor of Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering, Materials Science and Engineering Program and University of Colorado Cancer Center.  Dr. Park’s research interest is mainly in the light-matter interaction in nanostructures. Current research focuses on the thermal radiation engineering for energy harvesting, plasmonic nanostructures for cancer detection and therapy and mid-infrared photonic devices. Dr. Park has published over 100 peer-reviewed technical articles and 4
 invited book chapters and holds 6 U.S. patents. He is the recipient of Ruth L. Kirschstein NRSA Senior Fellowship in Cancer Nano-technology from the National Institute of Health, the Provost’s Faculty Achievement Award from the University of Colorado Boulder and Changbai Scholar Award from the Chinese government.

About this lecture series:

Professor Bernard R. Cooper received his S. B. in Physics from MIT in 1957 and his Ph. D. in Physics from the University of California – Berkeley in 1961 working with Charles Kittel. He joined the WVU Physics Department in 1974 as the Benedum Professor of Physics after working at Harvard and General Electric. He was an expert in the theory of magnetism, especially the magnetic properties of rare earth and actinide metals. He was a fellow of the American Physical Society. The Cooper Lecture series was dedicated in his honor at the time of his retirement in 2003. Professor Cooper passed away in 2013.

Previous Cooper Lectures
  • 2004 David Landau, University of Georgia – “A New Approach to Monte Carlo Simulations in Statistical Physics”
  • 2005 Hari Manoharan, Stanford University – “Manipulation of Matter at the Spatial Limit”
  • 2006 Myriam Sarachik, City College of New York – “Molecular Nanomagnets”
  • 2007 David Jiles, Cardiff University – “Non-linear Behavior in Magnetic Materials”
  • 2008 David Newman, University of Alaska-Fairbank – “Plasmas as a Prototypical Complex System: Self-Organized Criticality as a Paradigm for Plasma Transport”
  • 2009 Bill Dorland, University of Maryland-College Park – “Turbulence in 5 Dimensions”
  • 2010 Alexander Demkov, University of Texas-Austin – “Emerging Pheomena in Functional Oxide Heterostructures”
  • 2011 Henry van Driel, University of Toronto, Canada – “A New Spin on Light”
  • 2012 John Mather, Goddard Space Flight Center – “John Webb Space Telescope: Science Opportunities and Mission Progress”
  • 2013 John Raymond, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics – “Probing the Solar Corona with Comet Lovejoy”
  • 2014 Wolfgang Kleemann, University Duisburg-Essen, Duisburg, Germany – “Novel States and Functions of Magnetic and Polar Solids at the Nanoscale”
  • 2015 Roberto Merlin, University of Michigan – “From Negative Refraction and Superfocusing to Wireless Power Transfer: The Path of the Superlens”
  • 2016 Zhong Lin Wang, Georgia Institute of Technology – “Nanogenerators for Self-powered Systems and Piezotronics for Smart Devices”
  • 2017 Weiss, Rainer, Massachusetts Institute of Technology on behalf of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration - “Beginning the Exploration of the Universe with Gravitational Waves”
  • 2018 Dessau, Dan, University of Colorado, Boulder – “Resistance is Futile-Electronic Pairing Interactions in Cuprate and Organic Superconductors”