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Nanophotonics student wins best talk prize at Plasmonica 2019

Michela Picardi, PhD student in the Department of Physics, has won the prize for the best talk at the conference Plasmonica 2019, awarded by the Italian Society of Optics and Photonics (SIOF).

Michela Picardi
I am very proud of this award as it shows the potential influence and appreciation that our work is getting in the scientific community. Our work is mainly theoretical so it might be hard sometimes for people to engage with it, but I am glad they are and that this is coming with some sort of recognition.– Michela Picardi

Michela works in the Photonics and Nanotechnology group. Nanophotonics studies the interaction between light and very small structures. It is different from what we see in our daily experience with light interacting with matter because the size of the objects involved are comparable with the size of light itself! This changes completely the behaviour of light seen in everyday reflections, transmission, heating and so on. At the nanoscale novel phenomena arise, and Michela’s research has been to predict and describe them.

It is a very fascinating field as you continuously run into many counterintuitive effects, which can be pretty surprising.– Michela Picardi

Michela is inspired to work in this field for two main reasons. The first is the beauty of surprising and unexpected phenomena. She finds it striking because of the simple elements involved: shining a light on a tiny object and witnessing counterintuitive effects take place. The second reason is that the field is very applied and it has almost immediate connections to feasible technological implementations. She feels that with her research she is shaping the future of technology, from medical applications to novel computers, monitors, cars to spaceships!

Michela is hoping to submit her thesis is September.