Summary and scientific background:
I hold a tenure-track professorship and I am the head of the ‘Ultrafast Nanophotonics and Advanced Functional Materials’ Group at the Department of Physics, Umeå University (Sweden). At present, the research activities of my group are supported by the Swedish Research Council, the European Innovation Council, the Faculty of Science and Technology, the Kempe and Wenner-Gren Foundations. Currently, I am also a visiting researcher and project leader at the Department of Physics and Materials Science, University of Luxembourg and a principal investigator at the Umeå Center for Microbial Research. Since 2013 I have co-authored more than 50 scientific papers in renowned international journals (including Physical Review Letters, Nature Communications, Advanced Optical Materials and Nano Letters), and one international patent on metamaterials for nanophotonic applications. I gave more than 100 contributions at international conferences, international symposia, and colloquia, many of them as invited speaker.
I studied Physics at the University of Ferrara (Italy) from 2007 to 2012, and earned my PhD in Physics of Nanostructures and Advanced Materials (grade: outstanding cum laude) from the University of the Basque Country (Spain) in 2016. As Predoctoral researcher in the Nanomagnetism Group at CIC nanoGUNE, I studied the optical properties of nanostructured magnetic materials, under the supervision of Prof. Paolo Vavassori. In 2015, I received the Piero Brovetto Award from the Italian Physical Society for my contributions in the fields of nanomagnetism and nanooptics and the study of the physical properties of magnetoplasmonic nanoantennas and their application in bio-sensing. During my PhD training, I was Visiting Scientist at the Department of Applied Physics at Aalto School of Science (Finland) in 2014, and at the Department of Physics at Chalmers University of Technology (Sweden) in 2015.
From 2017 to 2018, I was Research Associate at the Italian Institute of Technology in Genoa (Italy) in the Plasmon Nanotechnologies Unit led by Dr. Francesco De Angelis, working on plasmonic nanostructures to control light-matter interactions, in particular linear absorption and scattering of light, at the nanoscale. Concurrently, I contributed to the design and development of plasmonic nanodevices for single protein sequencing through fluorescence and energy transfer mechanisms enhancement in collaboration with Dr. Denis Garoli, as well as for cell’s membrane and nucleus investigations through surface enhanced spectroscopy in collaboration with Dr. De Angelis.
From 2019 to 2021, I was a Research Associate and a Junior Group Leader at the University of Luxembourg in the Ultrafast Phenomena in Condensed Matter Group led by Prof. Daniele Brida, leading a research team working on the FNR CORE Project 'ULTRON' (2020-2022) and the European H2020 FET-Open Project 'ProteinID' (2021-2024). Here, I developed a research line focused on the study of ultrafast phenomena in magnetoplasmonic nanostructures by using time-resolved magneto-optical spectroscopy techniques in different configurations (e.g., Faraday effect, polar and longitudinal Kerr effect, etc), in a broad spectral range (from the visible to the mid infrared) and based on the use of few-optical cycle light pulses. In 2019 I was also Visiting Scientist in the Group of Prof. Alfred Leitenstorfer at the University of Konstanz.
In December 2021, I moved to Umeå University (Sweden) to start my own research group, supported by the prestigious Starting Grant from the Swedish Research Council with the project 'Nonthermal charge and spin dynamics in magnetoplasmonic nanomaterials', and the Horizon Europe EIC-Pathfinder Open Project 'iSenseDNA' aiming at studying molecular structure by using advanced computational tools and ultrafast spectroscopy techniques together with international partners from Germany, Italy, France, Luxembourg and Sweden. Until now, I was able to collect more than 2.5 M€ (>25M SEK, including start-up packages) to fund my own research as Principal Investigator. In 2022, I became a Member of the Young Academy of Europe, an independent pan-European initiative of top young scientists for networking, scientific exchange and science policy.
My research span a broad range of fundamental and applied aspects of natural sciences, with a special focus on both the fundamental and applied aspects of light-matter interactions in advanced and multifunctional nano- and meta-materials for opto-electronics and information processing, photochemistry and biotechnology, by using frequency- and time-resolved (magneto-)optical spectroscopy, finite-element computational methods and bottom-up/top-down nanofabrication techniques (for a brief introduction on nano- and meta-materials, you can watch my TEDx talk entitled 'Metamaterials matter: smart material of future').
Outreach activities and public engagement:
To engage with society, I actively participated in dissemination activities targeting the general public (from kids to elder people, such as the 'Science Festival' in Luxembourg) with international philanthropist service organizations (e.g. Lions Club International) and with the 'Scienteens Lab' at the University of Luxembourg to develop outreach activities in Optics and Photonics for mid- and high- school students. I have also taken part to the initiative 'Chercheurs à l’école' in Luxembourg and 'Forskarefredag' in Sweden, where researchers of all scientific disciplines interact with high-school students about their life as researchers to give to teenagers the perfect opportunity to ask us all the questions they have on the advantages and the possible disadvantages of being a scientist. In 2019, I participated in the 'Evidence Matters' initiative organized by the Luxembourg National Research Fund and Science Europe, where researchers and civil society were brought together to discuss the role of science and evidence in politics. The overall aim of this initiative was to create a “draft of expectations” about how the European Parliament should use and scrutinize scientific evidence before taking decisions which have a direct impact on our welfare.
Editorial and Research Integrity activities:
From 2018 to 2021 I have been an Early Career Editorial Board Member of 'Nano Letters' (published by the American Chemical Society). Currently, I serve as an Associate Editor of 'Advanced Photonics Nexus' (published by SPIE and Chinese Laser Press) and a Young Editorial Board Member of 'Ultrafast Science', a Science partner journal published by the Chinese Academy of Sciences and distributed by the American Associations for Advances in Science (AAAS).
Finally, I am a certified Research Integrity trainer in the framework of the European Project VIRT2UE, which aimed to provide the knowledge and skills to conduct virtue-based ethical research and to foster reflection on scientific virtues in researchers, in line with the European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity. From 2019 until 2021, I was a Research Coach and a pro-bono consultant/mentor at the Luxembourg Agency for Research Integrity.
I teach the course 'Solid State Physics' (7.5 credits, 6 theory + 1.5 laboratory) in the Master Programme in Engineering Physics (Teknisk Fysik). I am also responsible for such a course and taking care of the theoretical part of it.