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Ignacio Franco receives 2016 NSF CAREER Award to Investigate the Fundamental Limits in the Quantum Control of Electrons

March 25, 2016

Ignacio FrancoCongratulations to UR Chemistry Assistant Professor Ignacio Franco who is the recipient of a 2016 CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation for his proposal entitled “Decoherence, Non-Equilibrium Properties and Stark Control of Electrons at the Nanoscale.” The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program is a Foundation-wide program that offers the NSF's most prestigious awards in support of junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations. Such support is expected to help build a firm foundation for a lifetime of faculty leadership in integrating education and research.

Using this award, Professor Ignacio Franco and his research group will investigate the fundamental limits in the laser control of electrons and electronic properties in matter by exploiting quantum mechanical effects, an area of research known as quantum control. The reason to focus on lasers over more conventional means (e.g., an applied voltage, or changes in thermodynamic control variables) is that lasers offer the possibility of dynamic manipulation on an ultrafast timescale (on the order of a millionth of one billionth of a second). The Franco group investigates, for instance, the microscopic origin of the fastest existing method for the generation of currents, and the ability of lasers to turn insulating materials into transient metals. In addition to its interest at a fundamental level, pushing the time limit in which electronic properties can be controlled has the potential to catalyze transformative progress in chemistry, spectroscopy, optoelectronic device design, communication through electrical signals, and any other science or technology based on electronic properties and their control.

For more information, view the NSF Abstract.

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Franco and students
(From left to right) Professor Ignacio Franco and members of his research group, doctoral student Antonio Garzón, postdoctoral fellow Arnab Kar, and doctoral students students Rachel Carey, Zhi Li, and Wenxiang Hu. (University photo / Bob Marcotte)