Michael Zuerch in front of vacuum chamber.

Research Expertise and Interest

collective phenomena in material, chemical material dynamics in surfaces and interfaces, symmetry-broken states and their emergence in condensed-phase systems, dynamical properties in artificial and correlated superlattices, ultrafast spectroscopy from THz to X-rays

Research Description

Michael Zuerch is an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry.  He and his team experimentally explore structural, carrier and spin dynamics in novel quantum materials, heterostructures and on surfaces and at interfaces to answer current questions in materials science and physical chemistry. In his research he pursues a multidisciplinary research program that combines the exquisite possibilities that ultrafast X-ray spectroscopy and nanoimaging offers and closely interface with material synthesis and theory groups. He employs state-of-the-art methods and develops novel nonlinear X-ray spectroscopies in the lab and at large-scale facilities. In his research he is specifically interested in experimentally studying and controlling material properties on time scales down to the sub-femtosecond regime and on nanometer length scales to tackle challenging problems in quantum electronics, information storage and solar energy conversion.

In the News

Berkeley researchers demonstrate new technique for surface-sensitive second harmonic generation utilizing non-linear optics with a table-top laser

Interfaces and surfaces are of central importance to many open scientific questions. For example, in order to design more energy-efficient all solid-state batteries to fuel next-generation electric cars, we need to better understand the charge transfer processes through the battery’s individual layers. Also, devising solutions for climate change requires an enhanced knowledge of pollutant uptake at the air-liquid interface of clouds. Scientific questions like these, that address the nature of chemical interfaces and surfaces, are notoriously challenging to address because of the difficulty in studying systems with boundary specificity. An international effort led by UC Berkeley Assistant Professor of Chemistry Michael Zuerch has demonstrated a novel experimental method to address questions like these utilizing nonlinear optics as discussed in a recent article published today in Science Advances(link is external).
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