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Summer visit from the Max Born Institute

Álvaro Rodríguez Echarri has spent three weeks at POLIMA during the summer

By Louise Skovborg Just, , 8/7/2023

During the summer most Danes travel towards the south of Europe, but Álvaro Rodríguez Echarri traveled to the north and visited POLIMA for three weeks in July/August. It has been a pleasure for the POLIMA team to host Álvaro Rodríguez Echarri. Please meet him and read about his experience with visiting POLIMA:

First, introduce yourself.
I am 29 years old and originally from Barcelona. I did my PhD in Barcelona under the supervision of Javier García de Abajo at ICFO (The Institute of Photonic Sciences in Barcelona, Spain) and co-supervised by Joel Cox (currently POLIMA). When I started my PhD back in 2018, Joel was a postdoc in Barcelona, and we have been collaborating on different projects ever since. It was in 2019 that I visited N. Asger Mortensen’s group for the first time on a 6-months-research stay.
Since February 2023, I have been a postdoc in the Max Born Institute  in the Theoretical Optics & Photonics group led by Kurt Busch. As a matter of fact, over the years, there has been a well-stablished collaboration between the groups of Asger Mortensen and Kurt Busch, allowing me to keep working with many members of POLIMA.

Could you briefly describe your field of research?
My expertise is in the area of nanophotonics modeling. We have studied how light interacts with nano-sized materials, especially metal films trying to understand how their properties change when going from the bulk (semi-infinite films) to a few-atom-thick films. In addition, we have explored the interaction of metallic structures with electron beams, and how we engineer two-dimensional materials to control light. Currently, together with POLIMA, we are exploring new configurations to manipulate light-matter interaction in the nanometer sized world. 

Why is it relevant for you to spend three weeks at POLIMA?
I collaborate closely with Joel, and the visit at POLIMA gives us the opportunity to develop our current projects further and brainstorm to plan new ones. Brainstorming is always better face-to-face. Besides, I have already collaborated with many members of POLIMA, and projects progress much faster when you can have casual conversations about smaller issues and work together on the spot. The work can flow much faster in this way, and we can solve problems quicker and explore further original ideas easily. Visiting POLIMA and other research groups is a great opportunity to consolidate collaborations. 

On top of that, there has been quite some exchange between ICFO and the research group of Professor N. Asger Mortensen (currently POLIMA). In 2019. Joel Cox joined N. Asger Mortensen’s group as Assistant Professor after being employed in ICFO as Postdoc. André D. Gonçalves who is currently at ICFO with Javier García de Abajo did his PhD with N. Asger Mortensen as Supervisor, and Eduardo Dias and Catarina Ferreira who are currently at ICFO will join POLIMA as postdocs from 1 October. 

How has it been to spend three weeks in the summertime in Odense when you could spend the summer in Berlin or Barcelona?
Barcelona is wonderful all year, I recommend it to everyone, but working in summertime it’s another thing. Thus I appreciate that the weather is more pleasant here in Denmark for work during the summer. Also, in the morning, when I bike to the university in Odense, I go through the forest, and sometimes I even see some deer! That is very different from big cities like Berlin and Barcelona. I like that I can disconnect, enjoy the nature, and visit my colleagues at SDU. Part of science is meeting people and traveling around. That is how scientific interactions can be enhanced- I like it!

Editing was completed: 07.08.2023