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Probing atomic-scale optical excitations with light and free electrons

Nanophotonics Theory

Prof. Dr. Javier Garcia de Abajo

    Activities:

Our group is focused on the study of the optical response of nanostructured materials, as well as the interaction of those materials with free electrons in the context of electron microscopy. We develop theory to explain and unveil new physical phenomena associated with the interaction of light and electrons with the optical excitations supported by atoms, molecules, and nanostructures. In particular, we investigate plasmons and optical polaritons in general in 3D nanostructures and 2D materials, such as graphene and atomically thin crystal metals, as well as their coupling to atoms and molecules. We develop first-principles theory to interpret and extend electron-microscope-based spectroscopy, particularly in the contest of ultrafast light+electron+matter interactions in the context of the emerging field of ultrafast electron microscopy. We are also interested in exploring exotic quantum and classical phenomena involving the optical response of nanostructures, such as quantum vacuum friction, collective optical modes in graphene, and molecular plasmons.

Our research has a fundamental character, because we investigate radically new phenomena associated with the noted interactions, but also an applied interest, as shown in many of our publications in which we explore disruptive methods for ultrasensitive detection, single molecule characterization, heat management, ultrafast spectral imaging with sub-fs/sub-meV/sub-nm resolution, etc.


    PhD Positions Available:

We are continuously looking for bright students to carry on a PhD in our group in the topics mentioned above. For these positions, we value some experience in plasmonics/metamaterials, quantum physics, condensed-matter physics, many-body theory, and computational electromagnetism. We support students with our wide expertise in many-body and condensed-matter theory, optical response at the nanoscale both from first-principles and combined with classical electromagnetism, and interaction of fast-electrons/ions with nanostructures. We have powerful computational tools for studying and solving Maxwell’s equations (some of them made by us, such as the boundary-element method, multiple scattering, etc.), Schrödinger’s equation, linear-response problems (e.g., RPA expansions for many different physical systems), and free-electron/matter interactions.

  • PhD Positions in Atomically-Thin Metal Nanoplasmonics. Interested candidates should apply through ICFO’s PhD General Call and indicate interest in this particular Research Group/Group Leader.
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    Nanophotonics Theory

    Prof. Dr. Javier Garcia de Abajo

      Former Group Members
    • Zakaria Abd El-Fattah, Postdoctoral researcher
    • Shahaf Shalom Asban, Postdoctoral researcher
    • Hani Awwad, PhD student
    • Joel Douglas Cox, Postdoctoral researcher
    • Christin David, PhD student
    • Hai Hu, Visiting scientist
    • Andrea Konecna, Postdoctoral researcher
    • Deng Pan, Postdoctoral researcher
    • Juan Manuel Plaza, PhD student
    • Andrea Marini, Postdoctoral researcher
    • José Ramón Martínez, PhD student
    • Lijun Meng, PhD student
    • Vahagn Mkhitaryan, PhD student
    • Iván Silveiro, PhD student
    • Jacob Swain, PhD student
    • George Vasileios Mouloudakis, PhD student
    • Sandra de Vega Esteban, PhD student
    • Renwen Yu, PhD student

    Nanophotonics Theory

    Prof. Dr. Javier Garcia de Abajo

      PhD Theses
    • Plasmonic response of graphene nanostructures Iván Silveiro
    • Plasmon-electron interactions in low dimensional materials Sandra de Vega
    • Toward next-generation nanophotonic devices R. Yu
    • Thermal and optical-gain effects in nanophotonics with applications to sensing and perfect absorption Lijun Meng
    • Classical and quantum aspects of the optical response at the nanoscale. José Ramón Martínez Saavedra

    Nanophotonics Theory

    Prof. Dr. Javier Garcia de Abajo