Take 10 with... Dominik Vogt

Dr Dominik Vogt from the Department of Physics gives us 10 minutes of his time to discuss his research into the final frontier of the electromagnetic spectrum.

1.  Describe your research topic to us in 10 words or fewer.

Studying high quality resonators for terahertz radiation.

2.  Now explain it in everyday terms!

Terahertz (THz) radiation – frequently referred to as the final frontier of the electromagnetic spectrum – provides unique properties, rendering it an ideal platform from which to develop novel technologies. Quality control, art conservation, and spectroscopy, to name but a few, are examples where THz radiation can already outperform existing technologies. In particular, the next generation of ultra-fast WiFI will be based on THz radiation.

My research focuses on the development and investigation of resonant structures, so called microresonators, that allow confinement, enhancement and manipulation of THz radiation, contributing to the exploration of the THz frequency range.

3.  Describe some of your day-to-day research activities.

A large portion of my day-to-day research is the numerical modelling, as well as the experimental implementation and verification, of the proposed devices. Also, literature reviews, reporting our results to the community, and student supervision are important aspects of my job.

4.  What do you enjoy most about your research?

I find it hugely rewarding when an idea or concept, originally conceived on a piece of paper and subsequently tested with countless hours of numerical modelling followed by months of tweaking in the lab, is experimentally confirmed.

5.  Tell us something that has surprised you in the course of your research.

When we designed and fabricated our first high quality THz microresonator, and immediately obtained beautiful experimental results. Usually experiments don’t just 'work' like this!

6.  How have you approached any challenges you’ve faced in your research?

I think it is important to break down the challenges at hand to the smallest possible components and then gradually increase the complexity. This systematic approach helped me numerous times to address challenges that seemed unsolvable at first.

7.  What questions have emerged as a result?

Quite early into this research we had to develop a novel data analysis technique in order to be able to experimentally verify the performance of our high quality THz microresonators. The questions emerging along this process were challenging, but immensely valuable for our understanding of THz spectroscopy in general.

8.  What kind of impact do you hope your research will have?

I think the THz domain provides huge potential. My research contributes to fully utilize this potential and it is rewarding to see how other research groups in the community can build upon my research.

9.  If you collaborate across the faculty or University, who do you work with and how does it benefit your research?

I am collaborating with colleagues in academia as well as in industry, both in New Zealand and internationally. Discussing and analysing results with collaborators provides new perspectives and ideas that can be essential for the success of the project.

10.  What one piece of advice would you give your younger, less experienced research self?

Talk to people – networking is hugely important. Also, do not hesitate to confer with colleagues; sometimes a second opinion, addressing the problem from a new perspective, can make all the difference.