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FR15_SINGULAR_Etienne Brasselet

Etienne Brasselet

+33 05 40 00 33 90

Group description

The research activities of the group SINGULAR at Laboratoire Ondes et Matière d’Aquitaine mainly focus on the interaction of electromagnetic and acoustic waves with matter in the framework of  multidisciplinary environment that includes nonlinear phenomena, optics, and soft matter. We are especially interested in situations where structured fields meet structured matter, which makes topology and vector fields at play in various circumstances. The research topics cover beam shaping, material processing, optical information and imaging, scalar and vectorial singularities of wave fields, nonlinear optical phenomena, spin-orbit photonics, contactless handling of fluids, trapping and manipulation of objects, resonant mechanical systems.

Among the various kinds of materials under study (such as liquids, crystals, soft matter, glasses, metals) liquid crystals are prime choice model systems exploited for their reconfigurable inhomogeneous, anisotropic and possibly chiral properties, as well as the appearance of topological defects. This offers a toolbox for the development of adaptive self-engineered functional optical elements. Also, advanced 2D and 3D nanofabrication technologies are exploited to implement experiments that would be difficult to carry out otherwise towards exploring subtle aspects of light-matter interaction and imparting new functionalities to geometric phase optical elements and optical dielectric metasurfaces


  • Light-matter interaction
  • Geometric phase optical elements
  • Liquid crystal photonics
  • Structured light
  • Spin-orbit interaction of light
  • Metasurfaces
  • Singular optics

Team Description

  • Etienne Brasselet (Principal Investigator)

    ORCID: 0000-0001-6672-6785

  • Delphine Coursault (Research staff)

    ORCID: 0000-0002-0051-5376

  • Nina Kravets (Research staff)

    ORCID: 0000-0002-8624-6233

  • Elena Annenkova (Post-Doctoral Researcher)

  • Samlan Chandran Thodika (Post-Doctoral Researcher)


  • 3D Polarization: theory and measurement

    Pl: Miguel ALONSO (Main PI; CNRS, Centrale Marseille, Institut Fresnel, Aix Marseille University)

    Funding Agency*: National

    Ongoing: yes

  • Afficheur multistable à cristaux liquides

    Pl: Etienne BRASSELET

    Funding Agency*: National

    Ongoing: yes

  • Nanofabrication technologies towards advanced control of the photon orbital angular momentum

    Pl: Saulius JUODKAZIS (International Chair holder from Swinburne University fo Technology, Australia)

    Funding Agency*: Regional

    Ongoing: yes

  • Rotational mechanical effects of sound

    Pl: Elena ANNENKOVA (Marie Curie Fellow), Etienne BRASSELET (Marie Curie host Supervisor)

    Funding Agency*: European

    Ongoing: yes

  • Hybridation lumière-matière pour la mise en forme topologique de quasi-particules élastiques

    Pl: Delphine COURSAULT

    Funding Agency*: National

    Ongoing: yes

* INT - International EU - European NAT - National RE - Regional


Research Lines


Self-engineering processes of reconfigurable 3D optical materials

The use of soft matter in photonics open up new opportunities as it offers a way to circumvent demanding manufacturing processes based on nanotechnologies whenever there is need to reach submicron resolution while imparting topological properties to matter at larger spatial scale. Liquid crystal materials suits well to such aim owing to their capabilities to self-organize into complex 3D anisotropic architectures, spontaneously or under the action of external fields (electric, magnetic, light, temperature, mechanical stresses, etc.). This allows proposing novel spin-orbit photonics devices exploiting the coupling between the polarization state of light and all its spatial degrees of freedom.


Soft materials for all-optical processing of light

Liquid crystals and their possible mixture with polymers are known to be premium optical materials, as evidenced by LCD technologies. It is also known since five decades that liquid crystals can host localized elastic excitations. This allows proposing the development of novel strategies to produce non-magnetic materials acting as erasable and rewritable memories triggered by light. Moreover, as liquid crystals can interact with light in an active manner, one can consider the development of non-solid-state technology for processing light.

Biomimetic and biogenic materials for spin-orbit photonics

Living systems exhibit some of the world’s most complex optical systems that are used in many biological processes such as vision, communication, camouflage and photosynthesis. Manipulation of all degrees of freedom of light (amplitude, phase, polarization) can be at work, separately or together, in such complex optical materials  architectures. Still, little is known about biosystems situations where both polarization state and spatial degree of freedom are coupled, which is the case for inhomogeneous anisotropic media. Living materials being often endowed with conditions prone to reveal the optical spin-orbit interaction, we are interested to unveil and exploit biomimetic or biogenic structures, thereby considering spin-orbit photonics from a biological perspective.

Cross-border Collaboration (if any)

The PI of SINGULAR group has a long history of scientific association with Gabriel Molina-Terriza, PI at Ikerbasque Research Professor, Materials Physics Center ( Indeed, on many occasions during the last decade we delivered invited talks at the same events dealing with structured light, which is our common scientific ground. This call allows us to finally leverage on our history, technical and personal, for a productive joint future.

We believe that joining our complementary knowledge and experimental facilities in the framework of a project dealing with advanced materials and processes to produce, detect and control structured light towards the advent of novel applications in the field of optics and photonics.