Electronics at the speed of light! Science fiction for most of us for sure, but for Alexander Dmitriev and his research group at the Department of Applied Physics, it is a highly realistic goal. Next fall, Alexander will go to Stanford to initiate collaboration with the scientists there within the area of optoelectronics and nanoplasmonics. - There is nothing around us faster than light and by creating electronic components at nano level that work with light instead of electric current, we can create electronics at the speed of light, says Alexander.
The making of these future electronic components takes place in the nanolaboratory or the cleanroom as it is commonly called, a place where Alexander feels at home. He is one of those scientists who are really passionate
about their research and he wants to take an active part where it all happens.
Alexander Dmitriev, born and raised in Rostov-on-Don, Russia, was introduced to the world of physics at an early age. With two parents who are both physics professors, anything else would have been more surprising, but Alexander points out the fact that it has always been his own interest that has guided him. He remembers spending a lot of time in the lab with his parents and that’s where his curiosity and interest to start his own research in physics awoke.
He started his academic career at Rostov State University (nowadays Southern Federal University), where he received his Master’s Degree in Physics. Before embarking on his PhD studies in molecular nanoscience and nanophysics at the Max Planck Institute in Stuttgart, Germany, he took a few physics classes in Brazil – in Portuguese – and worked as a junior engineer at the European Synchotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) in Grenoble, France, where the entire family moved in 2000.
A Marie Curie Fellowship brought Alexander to Chalmers for a two-year post-doc mid-2004. Now, 11 years later, he is
an Associate Professor with his own research group, currently consisting of 2 post docs and 3 PhD students.
Summer 2016, Alexander will move to California for a 1-year sabbatical to work together with Professor Mark Brongersma and his team of researchers at Stanford University. Brongersma is one of the founders of the research area ”plasmonics”, a new device technology that exploits the unique optical properties of nanoscale metallic
structures to route and manipulate light at the nanoscale. Combined with his own research, which seeks to create interaction between light and magnetic fields in order to steer light with magnetism at nano level, Alexander aims to create a unique platform for research in optoelectronics and, in the long run, the development of sustainable energy production. - In combination with the competence of the researchers at Stanford, we can build something unique here in Gothenburg, there is no such research effort anywhere else in Sweden today.
A scholarship from the Pro Suecia Foundation is what helps to make it possible and Alexander sees the year at Stanford as the beginning of a long-term collaboration that has the potential to put Chalmers on the map as a hub for world-class advanced research in the field of optoelectronics.
Now Alexander is busy organizing the practical details of the move, such as figuring out how to pay tax when working
in the U.S. while getting paid from Sweden. This may seem like a small detail but it keeps Alexander as well as a number of people of the administrative staff busy. The family, wife (Rosmarie) and two kids, 3 and 7 years of age are coming along to California. Since Rosmarie is also a research group leader – in biochemistry – working to solve the problem of antibiotic resistance, she is trying to get funding and is establishing collaborations to carry out her work in California. She aims to start an international network within this area that is already highly successful in Gothenburg.
- The kids are at an age where it is still easy to bring them and they will learn to speak English on the fly. My wife and I have parallel research careers of equal importance and both can benefit from this wonderful opportunity.
Text and Photo: Birgitta Rorsman