Dr. Mohamed D. Farhat

BSc, Lycee Deodat de Severac Toulouse and Ecole Superieur d’Electricite, France, 2003
MSc, Center for Theoretical Physics, Aix-Marseille University, France, 2006
PhD, Fresnel Institute, Aix-Marseille University, France, 2009

W​​hy did you choose KAUST?

I choose to join KAUST for many reasons. The most important reason was the University’s vision of building from scratch a world-class science and technology institution. The quality of the professors and diversity of the research community was also an important motivation for me to join KAUST, as I feel that in such environment, one feels at home and can perform better research. Finally, the research facilities, including supercomputers, nanofabrication labs, etc. make the realization of many ideas feasible and encourage collaboration with other researchers from different disciplines.

How is KAUST helping you fulfill your dream?

My dream is to do interesting research in the fields of electrical engineering and physics. The environment and research facilities provided by KAUST are exceptionally helpful in reaching these goals. The KAUST academic divisions also organize very interesting seminars and workshops to help postdoctoral fellows and researchers prepare for their futures, and also to integrate in academic or professional environments.

What is your research topic?​

My research is in the fields of nanophotonics and plasmonic metamaterials. I have a special focus on novel applications in the domains of plasmonic biosensors, acousto-optical devices, transformation optics functionalities (invisibility cloaks, concentrators, etc.). More recently I have done some research on graphene plasmonics, including nano-antennas, perfect absorbers of light, optical modulators, plasmonic cloaks, and plasmons excitation through sound waves. In the future I plan to investigate possibilities of using graphene plasmons for energy and sensing applications.    

What is are your research accomplishments before and after joining KAUST?

Before joining KAUST and during the period of time when I was completing my PhD, I did some work on phononic metamaterials that led to the first proposition and design of an acoustic cloak. This work has been highlighted in many newspapers and news magazines in France and all over the world. It has also given rise to a US patent, and more recently a French group produced a macroscopic prototype of our idea. I have also proposed the design of an elastic invisibility cloak that could be used for protection from seismic waves in the future. Both works were published in Physical Review Letters and were selected as the cover of the issue, as well as the CNRS list of top works of the year. Later, as a postdoctoral fellow, I did some work on optical metamaterials and photonic crystals. One of them concerns Kerr nonlinearity with plasmonics and was published in Physical Review Letters, as well. 

Since I joined KAUST in September 2012, I produced over six journal papers, organized two special sessions at Meta’2012 and Meta’2013, and a Winter Enrichment Program session. I am pursuing my research in the group of Prof. Bagci, focusing on different aspects of metamaterials and nanophotonics. Recently I proposed a study on acousto-optical properties of graphene. This work showed for the first time how to use vertical vibration of sheets of graphene in order to couple incident light to graphene plasmons. This was published in Physical Review Letters, selected as an editors’ suggestion, and highlighted in Physics (http://physics.aps.org/synopsis-for/10.1103/PhysRevLett.111.237404) and Chemistry World (http://www.rsc.org/chemistryworld/2013/12/vibrations-couple-light-graphene-plasmons).

What do you think about the KAUST environment and social life?​

One of the most attractive things about KAUST is its social environment and the facilities offered to its community. The campus is one of the most beautiful ones on which I have lived. Almost everything one needs is provided for and within walking distance. Its proximity to the Red Sea is undoubtedly a great addition. Also, KAUST offers a lot of sports facilities, including two gyms and several football stadiums, which are free for its community to use. All these facilities and the mixed international community and safety inside the campus are very important to make researchers focus only on their scientific research without worrying about any technical or administrative issues. The University also facilitates the integration of the families of its staff and offers much assistance. I think the KAUST environment is outstanding.