The main scientific driver of our group is the understanding, controlling, and exploiting of the exciting physical phenomena arising in quantum materials such as two-dimensional (van der Waals) nanomaterials and assessing their potential for applications from optoelectronics to nanophotonics.

Since the physics of quantum materials, and the devices built upon them, are highly sensitive to properties such as dimensionality, material combinations, and the type of edge structures they exhibit, we adopt a synergetic approach by combining in-house top-down and bottom-up nanofabrication techniques with state-of-the-art transmission electron microscopy to realize an in-depth understanding of their associated functionalities. The complete list of publications from our group can be found (here).

Crafting new functionalities in two-dimensional materials In our group, we combine advanced nanofabrication techniques from top-down (e.g. etching and lithography) to bottom-up (e.g. chemical vapor deposition) methods in order to develop novel strategies to fabricate a variety of morphologies in low-dimensional 2D materials and explore the resulting induced local electronic properties.

Electron microscopy to accelerate the understanding of two-dimensional materials In our group we also exploit state-of-the-art electron microscopy and related techniques, including high-resolution scanning transmission electron microscopy (HR-STEM) and electron energy-loss spectroscopy (EELS), to unambiguously ascertain the underlying physical mechanisms leading to the remarkable phenomena emerging in quantum materials.

Machine learning for EELS data interpretation Data analysis in EELS is powered by a dedicated Python machine learning framework, EELSfitter, developed in-house within our group. It makes it possible to access key properties of 2D nanomaterials such as modulation of the bandgap, dielectric function, dispersion relations, low-energy electronic states, excitons, and other collective excitations, and their direct correlation with structural features. This effort is carried out in collaboration with experts from Nikhef, the Dutch national institute for particle physics.

From quantum materials to quantum technologies Engineering the resulting functionalities of quantum nanomaterials has an immense potential to revolutionize both the way we think about fundamental material science as well as for technological applications in fields from nanoelectronics and nanophotonics to quantum communication and sensing. For example, with van der Waals materials one could design materials with a strong nonlinear optical response for nanophotonics, drive clean energy reactions by exploiting their unique surface properties, assemble solid-state quantum bits for quantum computers, implement new platforms for ultra-precise quantum sensors, and implement single-photon emitters for secure quantum communications.