In 2016, Rivka Bekenstein completed her PhD in Physics under the guidance of Prof. Mordechai Segev at the Technion. Although Rivka’s dissertation is in fundamental physics, applicative ideas arose as the research advanced, suggesting that the tools and techniques of creating curved space for light can contribute to novel nanophotonic applications.
Rivka presented a new class of nanophotonic structures with intricate design in three dimensions, enabling control over light dynamics, through the curvature of the medium in which the light is propagating, based on General Relativity (GR) principles. Moreover, she presented wavefront shaping by a miniature dielectric slab sample with predesigned refractive index that varies according to the curvature of space. She used this technique to construct non-diffracting beams, suggesting that GR can inspire any wavefront shaping in highly tight waveguide settings. Finally, using the same miniature device, the phenomenon of Einstein Rings, dating back to 1936, was emulated.
With her Ruth Arnon Fellowship, Rivka moved with her husband and two daughters to the US, where she joined Prof. Mikhail Lukin’s lab at Harvard University. The fellowship has enabled her to conduct her research at Harvard while her daughters attend private Jewish childcares and schools.