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Boltasseva Honored by MRS for Novel Optics

Alexandra Boltasseva, a Purdue University assistant professor who developed novel materials for advanced plasmonic, metamaterial and transformation optics devices, is the recipient of the 2013 Materials Research Society’s (MRS) Outstanding Young Investigator Award.

The award recognizes outstanding interdisciplinary scientific work in materials research by a young scientist or engineer who shows exceptional promise as a developing leader in the materials area. Boltasseva will present her work, “Empowering Plasmonics and Metamaterials Technology with New Material Platforms,” April 2 at the 2013 MRS Spring Meeting in San Francisco. She will be presented with the award on April 3 at the MRS awards ceremony.

Boltasseva has made numerous contributions to the plasmonics and metamaterials field, including plasmon waveguides and circuits, and semiconductor metamaterials components. Her research includes transformative work on waveguides offering subwavelength-confinement and fabrication approaches for nanoplasmonic devices.

Most recently, she has tackled a key problem in plasmonics. The majority of work in this field uses noble metals, such as silver and gold, which exhibit absorption losses related in part to their relatively high electron densities. She has pointed the industry toward a counterintuitive direction, exploring plasmonic excitations in less metallic materials to significantly reduce the absorption losses.

Boltasseva’s work has demonstrated potential for reduced loss in novel plasmonic materials, including as conducting oxide and nitride compounds, paving the way for plasmonic materials at visible, near- and mid-infrared wavelengths.

She is an assistant professor at Purdue University’s School of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Birck Nanotechnology Center and an adjunct associate professor at Technical University of Denmark (DTU), where she received her doctorate in electrical engineering. She is a topical editor for Optics Letters and the Journal of Optics, and a guest editor for Advances in OptoElectronics.

She is also the recipient of the IEEE Photonics Society Young Investigator Award, the MIT Technology Review Top Young Innovator Award, the Purdue College of Engineering Early Career Research Award, the Young Researcher Award in Advanced Optical Technologies from the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg in Germany, and the Young Elite-Researcher Award from the Danish Council for Independent Research.

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