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Image: Nicolò Maccaferri

Ultrafast Nanophotonics and Advanced Functional Materials

Research group In our group we study both the fundamental and applied aspects of light-matter interactions. In particular, we study light-driven charge, spin and lattice dynamics and strong optical nonlinearities in advanced multifunctional nano- and meta-materials for opto-electronics and information processing, photochemistry and biotechnology. We use frequency- and time-resolved (magneto-)optical spectroscopy, finite-element computational methods and bottom-up/top-down nanofabrication techniques.

Currently, we mainly focus on two research areas:

  • Ultrafast dynamics in (magneto)photonic nanomaterials: here, we focus on the generation and investigation of electronic excitations (including plasmon polaritons, excitons and magnons) from the visible to the mid infrared with the aim to achieve nanoscale, energy-efficient and ultrafast control of several physical processes in metals, layered semiconductors and strongly correlated materials. In more detail, we target plasmon-driven electronic and spin relaxation, including exchange and spin-orbit interactions, plasmon-magnon polaritons hybridization states and tailored opto-acoustic excitations. We also manipulate artificially the geometry (shape, size, composition) of conventional materials to optically induce and control phase transitions and critical phenomena, non-thermal and thermal charge and spin generation, injection, and manipulation for energy-efficient information processing and spintronics.
  • Multi-functional metamaterials for bio-nanophotonics: here, we aim to study the fundamental physical properties of nanostructured multi-functional metamaterials (e.g., harmonic generation and nonlinear optical phenemena, as well as optical control of chemical reactions), which combine different functions (e.g. optical, magnetic, and thermal), and their coupling with other materials, such as quantum emitters and molecules for light-driven opto-electronics and nanochemistry. We also design and characterize multi-functional nanostructures for enhanced single-molecule spectroscopy (e.g., DNA and protein sequencing/sensing), and develop novel approaches and methodologies for personalized medicine applications (e.g., localized hyperthermia and drug delivery).

Our research at Umeå University is currently funded by a VR Starting Grant (Swedish Research Council, 2022-2025), a Pathfinder Open project (European Innovation Council, 2022-2026), Kempestiftelserna and the Wenner-Gren Foundation. We also acknowledge the support from the Department of Physics and the Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå University, which jointly co-funded the formation of our laboratory and the purchase of major equipment.

Head of research

Nicolò Maccaferri
Assistant professor


Participating departments and units at Umeå University

Department of Physics

Research area

Materials science, Physical sciences

External funding

Swedish Research Council, The Kempe Foundation, EU Horizon 2020 (H2020), Wenner-Gren Stiftelserna

External funding

New breakthrough shows how short pulses of light destroy particles

Umeå researchers publish study on what causes polaritons (a light-matter mixture) to collapse.

Get to know Nicolò Maccaferri – New UCMR PI

Nicolò Maccaferri builds bridges between physics, biochemistry and medicine to explore new intersection areas.

Four UCMR principal investigators receive money for mid-range equipment

The faculty boards grant grants to Ronnie Berntsson, Felipe Cava, Gerhard Gröbner and Nicolò Maccaferri.

Latest update: 2023-06-07