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Historical doctorate at TEK: Greek Christos has an eye for the tiny details

Ph.d. and assistant Professor Christos Tserkezis from The Mads Clausen Institute is only the second researcher at The Faculty of Engineering to receive a doctorate - he has just done so for his 180-page dissertation in nanotechnology, which is honored at the annual party at SDU.

By Jakob Haugaard Christiansen, , 10/29/2021

Tiny gold particles that can fight the cancer cells in a patient, or nanometer-sized technology that "restrain" the light so that data travels much faster in a cable. Or materials that, over time, make it possible to produce an invisibility cape. Or antennas to collect, emit of direct light, for optimal communication.

Although the last example is perhaps most realistic in theory or on a tiny scale, these are examples of the research work that 39-year-old Christos Tserkezis is behind at the Mads Clausen Institute at the Faculty of Engineering. With computer power, lots of data, and sometimes even a microscope as a tool, the Greek researcher in nanotechnology has recently been awarded a doctorate for his dissertation "Towards quantum nanophotonics: from quantum-informed plasmonics to strong coupling." 

This dissertation attempts to understand when such a description fails and what elements from the atomic, quantum world one must introduce to capture the complete picture.

Christos Tserkezis, Doctor at NanoOptics at The Mads Clausen Institute

Doctor, doctor

Thus, he is the only other person at the faculty to obtain a doctorate, for which he must be honored at the annual party  - Årsfesten - October 29th at SDU.

- So now I'm a doctor, doctor, he laughs, hinting to the fact that the doctoral degree from SDU is actually his second.

Christos Tserkezis first took his bachelor's, master's degree, and then Ph.D. in physics and materials used in his home country. The latter earned him his first doctoral degree in Greece. 

- Things are a little different in Denmark, he says.

After six years in the country, he has become accustomed to this, where he both lives and works in Odense. In four years in Odense, the Greek researcher has gone into nanometer details with his dissertation.

He describes his doctoral dissertation as follows:

- When light interacts with objects whose size is only a few nanometers, many exciting phenomena emerge. Some of them can be described by simply the physical laws that govern our macroscopic everyday life.

- This dissertation attempts to understand when such a description fails and what elements from the atomic, quantum world one must introduce to capture the complete picture, explains Christos Tserkezis.

The 39-year-old Greek describes himself as a slightly introverted person who feels good in his own company. Therefore, he was also not deterred by last year's corona lockdown, which on the contrary, gave him time to cultivate the small nano details in a slightly longer doctoral dissertation than one usually sees.

- I had plenty of time to write, so I ended up writing up to 180 pages in my dissertation, where you often see doctoral dissertations of 50-60 pages, he says. 

Searched the good communities

Before Christos Tserkezis moved to Denmark six years ago and became part of TEK, he traveled to San Sebastian in Spain for some years to work with physics and of materials at the nanoscale.  

- When I traveled to Spain and later to Denmark, I sought out environments where I saw the opportunity to work with the right and skilled colleagues. Work has always determined where I should travel, he says. And Asger Mortensen's group provides this in the best way possible, he continues:

- I have really grown as a scientist here.

He spends a great deal of his time working on campus, and when he is not researching and immersing himself in atoms and molecules, light and particles with his colleagues at TEK, it is music and books that he privately spends his time on.

- I have always been very fond of music. Initially rock music, but since then, it has evolved pretty much all other genres as well - at the moment, I listen a lot to classical music. When I read, it is classical literature, says Christos Tserkezis, who lives alone.

However, the newly graduated doctor of nanotechnology often travels home to visit his parents and sister in Athens, before returning to his scientific family at SDU.

Meet the researcher

Christos Tserkezis is an assistant Professor and newly appointed Doctor at NanoOptics at The Mads Clausen Institute, where he is the first ever to receive a doctorate. The 39-yeard old Greek researcher from Athens has been living in Denmark for six years and working at SDU for four of those years.


Editing was completed: 29.10.2021