The Structured Surface Physics group centers on using novel geometrical configurations to solve applied physics problems. The primary focus is in structured surface physics -- the study of interfaces containing precision structures on a scale of 0.1 to 100 microns. The advent of sophisticated polymeric micro-replication and thin film deposition technology has had two key impacts on this field.
First, it is possible to study a wide range of new structures. Second, it is practical to mass-produce such structures, which opens a new range of industrial opportunities. An example is the prism light guide, which is a structure employing precise geometrical prismatic facets on a transparent hollow pipe, to enable the guiding of light by means of total internal reflection. The primary application of that device has been the large scale guiding of light for illumination purposes. A different example is the EMEET transducer, in which a structured elastomeric surface contacts a smooth conductive plane. The resultant small air pockets can support extremely high electric fields. Such structures yield a good broad-band impedance match in useful applications, including the production of sound in fluids, and micromanipulation of large mechanical structures. Both the 3M company and TIR Systems Ltd. utilize the results of the research of Professor Whitehead's group.
Layered Micro-Prismatic Geometry creates dramatic optical effects.
Dr. Lorne Whitehead's Light Pipes utilize microprimatic film to efficiently transport light.