AC1: News

AC1: News

2017 Young Scientist Prize for Optics (AC1)

Giulia Grancini

“For her deep knowledge on photophysical properties and ultrafast light-induced dynamical processes”.

Giulia Grancini is Team Leader at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) – Energypolis, currently based in Sion (Valais, Switzerland). She graduated from Politecnico of Milan in 2008 (MS in physical engineering). In 2012, she obtained her PhD in physics cum laude from the Politecnico of Milan with an experimental thesis focused on the realization of a new femtosecond-microscope for mapping the ultrafast phenomena at organic interfaces (see scheme below). During the PhD, she worked for one year as a visiting scientistat the physics department of Oxford University, where she pioneered new concepts within polymer/ oxide solar cell technology.

From 2012–2015, she has been a post-doctoral researcher at the Italian Institute of Technology (CNST@PoliMi) in Milan. In 2015 she joined the group of Prof. Nazeeruddin at EPFL, awarded with a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowship. For her seminal contributions in the field of photophysics of hybrid perovskites, she received in october 2015 the prestigious National Award for Physics “EDISON, in memoria di Francesco Somaini” from the Edison Company & Alessandro Volta Foundation. Since 2016, she leads the PhysicsSolarLab at EPFL, aiming to address the fundamental physics behind advanced photovoltaic devices. In 2017, she was awarded with the Swiss Ambizione Energy Grant, which provides independent young researchers with up to 1 million CHF for leading innovative projects in the energy sector. Currently, she is also principal investigator of an European LaserLab project and co-manager of different Swiss projects with academic and industrial partners. She is author of more than 60 peer-reviewed scientific papers including a few in high-impact journals (more than 6000 overall citations) on the photophysical and optical properties of nano-structured semiconductors.

Giulia’s work focuses on the current scientific challenge of exploring the fundamental photophysical processes underlying the operation of advanced materials for optoelectronic application, with special attention to photovoltaics. She contributed with pioneering work to the understanding of the ultrafast interface physics that governs the operation of organic and hybrid perovskite solar cells. Examples include the visualization of the charge transfer and exciton dissociation dynamics involved in the photovoltaic action by developing state-of-the-art sub 10-fs ultrafast spectroscopy systems and the determination of the nature of the photoexcited species in hybrid perovskites and their dynamical evolution in the femtosecond/nanosecond timescale. Her works have been highly cited and recognized by the research community to be of utmost importance for guiding the development of efficient new generation solar technologies.

Giulia Grancini was awarded the IUPAP Young Scientist Prize in Optics 2017 for her “deep knowledge on photophysical properties and ultrafast light-induced dynamical processes”.


2016 Young Scientist Prize for Optics (AC1)

Laura Na Liu

“For her outstanding contributions to nano-optics, nanophotonics, nanoplasmonics, and metamaterials.”

Laura Na Liu is Professor at the Kirchhoff Institute of Physics, University of Heidelberg, and Group Leader at the Max-Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems, Germany. She graduated with a BS in physics from Jilin University, China, and a MS in physics from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. She obtained her PhD in physics with “summa cum laude” from the University of Stuttgart, Germany, in 2009. In 2010, she was post-doc at the Lawrence Berkeley Lab, University of California, Berkeley, USA. In 2011–2012 she was Texas Instruments Visiting Professor at the Electrical Engineering Department of Rice University, Houston, TX, USA. Since 2012, she is the leader of the Smart Nanoplasmonics group at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems, Stuttgart, Germany, and in 2015 she became Full Professor at the Kirchhoff Institute of Physics of the University of Heidelberg. Her research group focuses on developing sophisticated and smart plasmonic nanostructures for gaining precise insight into cell biology and catalytic chemistry.

She has received multiple awards: between them a Chinese Government Award for outstanding students abroad in 2008. In 2012, she was awarded the Sofja Kovalevskaja Award of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, which provides young researchers with up to €1.5 million as risk capital for innovative projects at an early stage of their careers. Na Liu proposed to use nanoplasmonics to observe biological and chemical processes at the level of individual particles, by combining gold nanoparticles with DNA and observing the dynamics of chemical reactions with high-resolution microscopes. She was awarded the Elisabeth Schiemann-Kolleg Fellowship of the Max Planck Society and the Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Prize of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) in 2013. In 2014, her project “dynamic nanoplasmonics” was awarded a Starting Grant (€1.5 million) of the European Research Council (ERC). During the International Year of Light, the European Optical Society (EOS), awarded her with the Light 2015 Young Woman in Photonics Award.


2015 Young Scientist Prize for Optics (AC1)

Frank Koppens

Frank Koppens

Prof. Frank Koppens obtained his PhD in experimental physics at the Kavli Institute of Nanoscience, The Netherlands.  After a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard University, since August 2010, Koppens is a group leader at the Institute of Photonic Sciences (ICFO). He has received the Christiaan Hugyensprijs 2012, the ERC award as well as two ERC proof-of-concept awards. Prof. Koppens is leader of the optoelectronics workpackage of the graphene flagship (1B€  project for 10 years). Since 2015, Koppens is also holder of an ICREA professorship.

The quantum nano-optoelectronics group of Prof. Koppens focuses on both science and technology of novel two-dimensional materials.  The goal of current projects is to study the interactions between light, plasmons and electrons in graphene and 2d materials, at ultra-fast timescales and  nano-scale lengthscales. The group also develops devices with applications for wearables, sensing, photodetection, infrared imaging, power conversion and nano-scale light processing and switching.

In total, Koppens has published more than 40 refereed papers (H-index 31), amongst which Nature (2x), Science (3x), Nature Physics (5x), Nature Photonics, Nature Materials, Nature Nanotech. (5x), Phys.Rev.Lett.(8x) and NanoLetters (6x).

Total number of citations >8000.