Dr Miguel Navarro-Cía MEng, MRes, PhD, SMIEEE, SMOSA, MInstP

Dr Miguel Navarro-Cía

School of Physics and Astronomy
Birmingham Fellow

Contact details

School of Physics and Astronomy
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Miguel Navarro-Cía is a Birmingham Fellow in the School of Physics and Astronomy.

Miguel’s research focuses on the general field of applied electromagnetics. He has published over 95 research papers in scientific journals as well as two book chapters, and has contributed over 250 communications to international conferences in the fields of metamaterials/metasurfaces, plasmonics, time-domain near-field microscopy and antennas at terahertz and infrared. He has been a member of organising and technical committees and chaired sessions in international conferences. He is a regular reviewer for several APS, AIP, IEEE, OSA, IoP, EIT and several Nature Publishing Group journals and for the Czech Science Foundation. He has received funding from the European Science Foundation and the Royal Society.

He is actively engaged in promoting research on terahertz and has delivered several courses and talks on this topic to various groups at both the national and international level. His vision is to merge concepts from two different worlds like optics and microwave engineering to realized functional materials (metamaterials) and devices that will enable the exploitation of the THz spectrum efficiently for sensing applications and short range high-space wireless communication.


• PhD in Engineering with honours and European Doctorate mention, Universidad Pública de Navarra, Spain, 2010
• MRes in Introduction to Communication Research, Universidad Pública de Navarra, Spain, 2007
• MEng in Telecommunication Engineering, Universidad Pública de Navarra, Spain, 2006


Miguel Navarro-Cía qualified with a MEng in Telecommunication Engineering, a MRes in Introduction to Communication Research and a PhD in Engineering in 2006, 2007 and 2010, respectively, from the Universidad Pública de Navarra, Spain.

From September 2006 to January 2010, and from February 2010 until March 2011, he worked as a Predoctoral Researcher (FPI fellowship recipient) and a Research & Teaching Assistant at Universidad Pública de Navarra, respectively. He was a Research Associate at Imperial College London and University College London in 2011 and 2012, respectively, and a Junior Research Fellow at Imperial College London from December 2012 until November 2015. Currently he is Birmingham Fellow in the School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Birmingham. He is also affiliated as a Visiting Researcher with Imperial College London and University College London.

He was a Visiting Researcher with the University of Pennsylvania (for three months in 2010), with Imperial College London (2008, 2009, and 2010 for four, six, and three months, respectively), and with the Valencia Nanophotonics Technology Center (for two months in 2008).

He was awarded the Best Doctoral Thesis in Basic Principles and Technologies of Information and Communications, and Applications corresponding to the XXXI Edition of Awards “Telecommunication Engineers” 2010 and twice the CST University Publication Awards for the best international journal publication using CST Microwave Studio® (in 2012 and 2016) and was recipient of the 2011 Junior Research Raj Mittra Travel Grant.

His current line of research focuses on plasmonics, TDS near-field imaging/spectroscopy, metamaterials, antennas and frequency selective surfaces at terahertz and infrared.

Moving away from academia, Miguel Navarro-Cia's personal interests embrace travelling and chess. He is FIDE Master (FM) with 1 norm for International Master (IM) and among his achievements he was runner-up at the Spanish Chess Championship under 18 in 1999 and at the Spanish Team Chess Championship with Navarra in 2011. Also, one of his pupils won the Spanish Chess Championship under 10 in 2002.



  • MSci Y4 Projects
  • BSc/MSci Y3 Group Studies - Robotics


  • MEng/MSc/MRes Electromagnetics, Antennas and Propagation
  • MEng/MSc/MRes Satellite, Mobile and Optical Communications

Postgraduate supervision

Current PhD students

  • R. A. Alves, Transformation optics for nanoantennas and quantum emitters, University of Birmingham, UK.
  • S. Freer, Fast terahertz imaging below the diffraction limit, University of Birmingham, UK.

Past PhD students

  • V. Torres Landivar (2014) Plasmonics and Metamaterials at Terahertz Frequencies, Universidad Pública de Navarra, Spain.


Miguel Navarro-Cía’s research interests focus on the general fields of terahertz, plasmonics, and metamaterials.


The terahertz frequency range (ca. 0.3 - 10 THz, i.e., λ = 30 μm - 1 mm) is particularly rich in spectral fingerprints. This includes low energy excitations in electronic materials, low-frequency vibrational modes of condensed phase media, and vibration and rotational transitions in molecules. This region of the spectrum has been less explored than others until recently, due to the lack of efficient and compact THz sources and detectors. THz technology promises significant applications on the areas of security (driven by the global concern of personal screening in public places), medical imaging and high-speed communication.

Miguel’s activity in this field encompasses two disciplines:

  • Design of frequency selective surfaces for quasi-optical mesh filters, highly-confined surface waves and beam-shaping.
  • Near-field time-domain microscopy for device (e.g. waveguides) characterization and for the investigation of sub-wavelength particles.


  • Unify the description of confined THz surface waves based on periodically pierced metals using the transverse resonance method for transmission lines/equivalent lumped networks.
  • Wideband highly-confined THz surface wave
  • Discuss for the first time the effect of TEm,n modes on finite-parallel-plate waveguide

Find out more about fundamentals and THz technology in Semiconductor TeraHertz Technology: Devices and Systems at Room Temperature Operation (Wiley-IEEE Press, ISBN: 978-1-118-92042-8)


The field of plasmonics is concerned with the science and engineering of optical interaction with the free electrons in metals and semi-conductors. It is meant to bridge the gap between the world of nanoscale electronics and microscale photonics, but it also holds promise in spectroscopy, imaging, quantum physics, nonlinearities, etc.

Miguel’s current interest in plasmonics is on nanoantennas for harmonic generation and ultra-wideband spectroscopy.

Efficient frequency conversion is commonly accomplished at the macroscopic scale in inorganic birefringent crystals. However, nonlinear crystals are several wavelengths in size, polarization-dependent, and phase-matching limited, which hinder the development of chip-scale tuneable nonlinear optical materials. In addition, to trigger the non-linear process, high intensity sources are required. Miguel and collaborators envision that broadband nanoantennas designed to operate at the fundamental and harmonics can potentially path the way for efficient nonlinear nanodevices with high frequency tune-ability and lower source intensity needs.

Currently, performing surface-enhanced spectroscopy experiments from the visible to the infrared regions is done designing and fabricating multiple plasmonics structures, which is time consuming and prevents the development of integrated sensors for monitoring simultaneously multiple spectral fingerprint regions or probing random molecular species. Had we a single platform enabling field enhancement from visible to infrared, this problem would be solved. Hence, Miguel et al. propose the use of broadband/multi-frequency antenna designs like the log-periodic antenna to overcome this limitation.


  • Simultaneous surface-enhanced fluorescence, Raman and infrared absorption spectroscopies using a single broadband nanoantenna
  • Effective χ(2) from an only-metal nanoantenna of the order of nonlinear crystals
  • Third harmonic generation enhancements of up to 106 folds compared to an isolated ITO nanoparticle, with an effective third order susceptibility up to 3.5×103 nm2/V2 and conversion efficiency of 0.0007%


Metamaterials are artificial structures whose electromagnetic properties, represented by the electric permittivity and magnetic permeability, can be engineered by properly designing the building blocks (i.e. the repetitive sub-wavelength unit cell) to achieve extraordinary phenomena not observed easily in nature. This field has revolutionized the way we design and engineer new materials.

Great deal of research is being devoted to the underlying physics of metamaterials. However, Miguel’s attention is focused on developing quasi-optical devices with a twofold objective: (i) demonstrate experimentally certain properties such as effective negative refractive index, and (ii) propose metamaterial-based devices competitive in some aspects with the current technology. In particular, he is very keen on metamaterial-based lenses and wave plates given their compactness and potential free-space matching.


  • First experimental demonstration of negative refraction on the fishnet metamaterial (also known also as extraordinary transmission metamaterial or stacked sub-wavelength hole array metamaterial) via the prism experiment
  • Unveil the connection between the extraordinary transmission phenomenon and the fishnet metamaterial
  • Quasi-optical devices (lenses, polarizers, etc.) based on the fishnet metamaterial competitive with classical metallic quasi-optical devices
Find out more about extraordinary transmission phenomena and their application for polarizers and effective negative refractive index metamaterials in Electromagnetic Response of Extraordinary Transmission Plates Inspired on Babinet’s Principle (Behaviour of Electromagnetic Waves in Different Media and Structures, ISBN 978-953-307-302-6)

Other activities


  • Senior Member of IEEE
  • Senior Member of OSA
  • Member of IOP
  • Former Member of the Spanish National Association of Telecommunication Engineers, AEIT
  • Former Member of the Spanish Professional Board of Telecommunication Engineers, COIT

Editorial Board:

  • IET Microwaves, Antennas & Propagation (The IET)
  • Advances in Materials Science and Engineering (Hindawi Publishing Corporation)


  • Referee for journals including Advanced Materials, ACS Nano, Nature Communications, Physical Review Letters, Advanced Functional Materials, Light: Science & Applications, Applied Physics Letters, New Journal of Physics, Nanotechnology, Physical Review B, ACS Photonics, Optics Letters, Scientific Reports, Optics Express, IEEE Transactions on Microwave, Theory and Techniques (IEEE-TMTT), IEEE Transactions on Antennas and Propagation (IEEE-TAP), IEEE Transactions on Terahertz Science and Technology, etc.
  • Reviewer for conferences including APS/URSI since 2016, Meta’15, EuCAP since 2015 and the International Congress on Advanced Electromagnetic Materials in Microwaves and Optics (Metamaterials) since 2010.
  • Reviewer for Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).
  • Reviewer for British Council Newton Fund Researcher Links and Institutional Links and related activities
  • Reviewer for Dutch funding agency Technology Foundation SWT
  • Reviewer for the Czech Science Foundation
  • Reviewer for the Premios a las Mejores Tesis Doctorales y a los Mejores Proyectos Fin de Carrera (Awards "Telecommunication Engineers") since 2012
11/2009 – date, Capitalist partner of the spin-off company Tafco Metawireless S.L.


A complete list of publications is available at Google Scholar, ResearchGate and Mendeley


Preu, S., Döhler, G.H., Malzer, S., Stöhr, A., Göbel, T., Brown, E.R., Feiginov, M., Gonzalo, R., Beruete, M. and Navarro-Cía, M. (2015) “Principles of THz Generation”, In: Carpinterio, G., García-Muñoz, E., Hartnagel, H., Preu, S., Raisanen, A. (eds.) Semiconductor TeraHertz Technology: Devices and Systems at Room Temperature Operation. Chichester: Wiley-IEEE Press.

Navarro-Cía, M., Melzer, J.E., Harrington, J.A. and Mitrofanov, O. (2015), Silver-coated Teflon Tubes for Waveguiding at 1-2 THz, Journal of Infrared, Millimeter, and Terahertz Waves, 36: 542-555

Navarro-Cía, M., Natrella, M., Dominec, F., Delagnes, J.-C., Kužel, P., Mounaix, P., Graham, C., Renaud, C.C., Seeds, A.J. and Mitrofanov, O. (2013), Terahertz imaging of sub-wavelength particles with Zenneck surface waves, Applied Physics Letters, 103: 221103-1-5

Metamaterials and metasurfaces:

Kuznetsov, S.A., Astafev, M.A., Beruete, M. and Navarro-Cía, M. (2015), Planar Holographic Metasurfaces for Terahertz Focusing, Scientific Reports, 5(7738): 1-8

Navarro-Cía, M., Beruete, M., Agrafiotis, S., Falcone, F., Sorolla, M. and Maier, S.A. (2009), Broadband spoof plasmons and subwavelength electromagnetic energy confinement on ultrathin metafilms, Optics Express, 17: 18184-18195

Navarro-Cía, M., Beruete, M., Sorolla, M. and Campillo, I. (2008), Negative refraction in a prism made of stacked subwavelength hole arrays, Optics Express, 16: 560-566


Pacheco-Peña, V., Beruete, M., Fernández-Domínguez, A.I., Luo, Y. and Navarro-Cía, M. (2016), Descripion of bow-tie nanoantennas excited by localized emitters using conformal transformation, ACS Photonics, 3: 1223-1232

Aouani, H., Rahmani, M., Navarro-Cía, M. and Maier, S.A. (2014), Third harmonic upconversion enhancement from a single semiconductor nanoparticle coupled to a plasmonic antenna, Nature Nanotechnology, 9: 290-294

Navarro-Cía, M. and Maier, S.A. (2012), Broadband near-infrared plasmonic nanoantennas for harmonic generation, ACS Nano, 6: 3537-3544