Marina has a Ph.D. in applied physics and undergraduate degrees in physics and computer science. She is a Nano- and Quantum Science and Engineering Postdoctoral Fellow working with the Nanoscale and Quantum Photonics Lab.
How did you become interested in your research area?
Quantum physics has intrigued me since attending high school science camp. The desire to understand the behavior of minuscule systems compelled me to study physics (and computer science) as an undergrad. My studies lead me to observe the interactions of light and matter, and their extraordinary ability to exhibit interesting quantum phenomena. I liked that these experiments were performed in table-top setups, which seemed much more tractable compared to in an accelerator. Finally, I got trained to fabricate devices smaller than what an eye can resolve and thought that it is a very fun thing to be doing on a weekly basis. All of these interests are combined in quantum nanophotonics research, which is what I'm currently exploring in an engineering setting.
Explain a project you're currently working on.
I study tiny defects in silicon carbide and diamonds, called color centers. These defects emit light and have magnetic properties that can bring about a new generation of safe communication, powerful computation, and precise sensing. Embedding color centers into nanoscale optical devices changes the nature of their behavior. I harness those effects to understand the physics of these systems and make them more suitable for applications.
Why did you choose Stanford EE?
I chose Stanford EE for my postdoctoral training because of the department's great ideas and resources. My PhD was in Stanford's Applied Physics department and I had already collaborated with EE faculty, including my advisor Prof. Jelena Vuckovic. An access to the state-of-the-art nanofabrication facility was also an important deciding factor. Finally, an opportunity to secure independent funding through the Nano- and Quantum Science and Engineering Postdoctoral Fellowship gave me more lateral research freedom.
What other activities are you involved with on campus?
I am a producer of an interdisciplinary science podcast, "Goggles Optional". We bring the latest science news to listeners in over 80 countries. In addition to being a very creative endeavor, this podcast keeps me up to date with scientific discoveries, gives me an opportunity to discuss my own research with colleagues from other disciplines, and helps me digest technical content for broad audiences.
What are your career plans?
My next challenge is to bring together a diverse group of young researchers, provide training and set vision for impactful quantum nanophotonics research. In spring 2019, I will have a chance to take this task on as an Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of California, Davis.