The NANO-GLASS project team is finally complete, after Susana Plascencia and Alessia Mezzadrelli have ended their training period and became full members of the consortium.
Susana Plascencia comes from Guadalajara, Mexico. She studied physics at the University of Guadalajara (Mexico) where she obtained her degree in Bachelor in Physics. Then she moved to the mexican Research Center in Optics to study Master of Science-Optics doing her master thesis at Fraunhofer IOF (Germany).
Susana’s individual research project (IRP), entitled “Quantum memories based on fibers materials” is aimed to investigate rare-earth doped glass and ceramic waveguides as a candidate system for use as a quantum memory. To achieve this, she will get involved in the glass and ceramic fabrication processes, measurements to characterize optical glass, and then the experimental procedures for the study of quantum processes in these materials. She hopes that the results of her research will be useful for developing a quantum memory, a key element of quantum communication systems that can be directly integrated into the current communication network. Her IRP is supervised by ICREA Prof. Hugues de Riedmatten (ICFO) and Karl W. Koch (Corning Inc.).
In the quest of quantum memories
She joined NANO-GLASS project last November. She applied for this project because she is “fascinated for the nature of the quantum phenomena; the understanding and application of this science is combined in the quantum communication field which made me choose a project on that direction. Moreover, having the opportunity to experience in the industrial research environment and getting involved not only in the study of the basic science but also in fabrication and development of modern technologies made the Nano-Glass fellowship the perfect project.”
Since then, and while working in the group of Quantum Photonics with Solids and Atoms led by Hughes de Riedmatten, Susanna has been focused on learning the spectroscopic methods to characterize materials and the quantum protocols to determine if the sample is suitable for a quantum memory. “During these first months, I had the opportunity to learn from another PhD. student. This allowed me to acquire important experimental skills, knowledge essential to perform spectroscopic experiments, and to become aware of which components I would need to design my own set-up. Also, the literature searching was crucial for the development of my experiments since the group has not studied this type of material before”, said Susana.
“Living in a country like Spain which has a lot to offer such as incredible landscapes and nature, delicious cuisine and rich history has been great. Even when Spanish is my mother tongue, I am still so far away from home and my costumes,” said Susana. “Nevertheless, people have been very welcoming, cheerful, and friendly, making it easier to integrate into the society. I have been here only for a few months so there are still too many places I have not visited, a lot of traditions that I have not experienced, and of course another language to learn, Catalan.”
New display sources
Alessia Mezzadrelli was the last recruited early stage researcher (ESR) of NANO-GLASS project. She arrived at ICFO, her hosting institution, last April joining the Optoelectronics Group led by ICREA Prof. Valerio Pruneri. She comes from Verona, Italy. Alessia studied Material Science at the University of Padova (Italy) and she earned both bachelor and master degree there. The interest in nanofabrication grew during the master thesis and led Alessia to continue in that field after the degree at the facilities of IOM-TASC in Trieste, Italy. Alessia also had 2 years working experience in an industrial field where she gained useful soft skills.
She decided to apply as an ESR for the NANO-GLASS project because she wanted to combine her strong interest in nanofabrication “with the fascinating field of optoelectronics, and all in a versatile environment between academy and industry. So which opportunity was better than this project?”.
She will be working for the next three years on her individual research project (IRP) entitled “Tunable optical surfaces for display applications“. Alessia’s IRP will be supervised by Prof. Dr. Valerio Pruneri (ICFO) and Dr. Prantik Mazumder (Corning Incorporated). The project’s goal is to obtain glass surfaces which are transparent in the visible range but with functionalities such as tunable optical response at desired wavelengths at the same time. This would benefit applications in projection displays, optical sensors, in-fiber devices, or waveguiding.
During her training period, Alessia focused on two main activities: simulations to study different geometries for the devices, and the nanofabrication processes and characterization techniques. In the simulations, she studied the fundamentals of plasmonic and opto-electronic properties of nanostructures. Besides that, she worked with several machines in the clean room essential for the nanofabrication of the devices. And she learnt how to characterize the morphology and the optical response of the samples.
Alessia highlights the importance of her training period because it is “really useful for the future PhD students both to be sure if the project fits good with our interests and expectations and also to prepare properly before the real start of the project.” Now, and being a full member of the NANO-GLASS project, Alessia considers that “the Nano-Glass project is an extraordinary opportunity to enter into industrial reality with an academic and critical mind dealing with a disruptive technological field.”
These last months have been an exciting period of Alessia’s life because she likes to explore new realities and she is really amazed by the vibrant city of Barcelona. She loves the mood of life and the quantity of activities one can do in the city. She is looking forward to visit other cities and other natural regions around the Spain. She enjoys a lot also the ICFO environment where she met a lot of interesting people both for some collaborations during work and for some leisure activities.