BINA: New Faculty
The Bar-Ilan Institute for Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials (BINA): Meet our new faculty members
In the past year, BINA welcomed four new faculty members including Dr. Adi Salomon, an expert in surface chemistry, electron transport processes, plasmonics and the fabrication of metallic nanostructures. Salomon received her doctorate from the Weizmann Institute of Science, where her research led to establishment of a generic system, from which a new theory describing the mechanism of charge transport through molecules was derived. During her post-doctoral fellowship at ISIS – a research institute associated with the University of Strasbourg – Salomon became the first to demonstrate the dynamic of interactions between molecules and plasmonic modes. Later, returning to the Weizmann Institute for another post-doctoral position, Salomon developed a new model to explain long range interactions between molecules that are immersed in a plasmonic field. She has also worked at ENS-Cachan, Paris, studying how nonlinear optical properties of metallic nanostructures may help achieve strong amplification and localization of light at the nanoscale. Today, Salomon is applying her complementary knowledge of optics and surface chemistry to the development of hybrid materials for renewable energy and photochemistry on surfaces. By fabricating metallic nanostructures, she captures light energy that can be used as a tool for controlling processes in molecular systems. She is also working on batteries as part of INREP – Israel’s National Research Center for Electrical Propulsion – using an optical technique to examine the chemical reactions that occur on the electrode surface.
Also joining BINA in the coming year is Dr. Yoni Toker, an expert in the physical principles that govern the interaction between visible light and biochromophores– a class of light-sensitive organic molecules essential to a wide variety of phenomena including vision
and photosynthesis. A native of Jerusalem who received his undergraduate training in physics and mathematics at the Hebrew University and completed his doctorate at the Weizmann Institute’s Department of Particle Physics, Toker returned to Israel in 2012
after completing a post-doctoral fellowship at Aarhus University in Denmark. Using a technique called action spectroscopy, Toker studies how biochromophores absorb light, as well as what happens to these molecules as a result. In his new lab, Toker will seek
to improve action spectroscopy techniques and augment the useful data that can be derived from such studies. In another aspect of his work, he will use mass selection and ultra-fast laser techniques to examine light-activated structural changes within isolated
biochromophores in the gas phase. This will allow him to characterize basic quantum principles related to light-matter interactions in biological systems, with possible uses in applications that combine optics, nanoelectronics and biological materials.
A BIU alumnus who received his BSc in Chemistry and Computer Science in 1999 and his Masters in Chemistry in 2003 – both with honors – Dr. Hagay Shpaisman combined his studies with military service in an elite IDF
technological unit, where he served as a R&D researcher and team leader, developing new technological procedures by merging a variety of techniques in the fields of chemistry, physics and material engineering. A participant in the prestigious “Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings” and winner, among other honors, of an Israel Science Foundation “Converging Technologies” award, Shpaisman completed his PhD at the Weizmann Institute of Science, where he studied electronic transport across molecular monolayers. Today, after completing a post-doctoral fellowship at New York University’s Center for Soft Matter Research, he is returning to the BIU campus to take up a position as a BINA faculty member. Shpaisman’s new lab will be devoted to creating novel techniques for fabricating micro/nano-scopic structures, and for examining ways that these new structures can be manipulated. His goal is to achieve a better understanding of the underlying scientific principles that govern such processes, while at the same time, developing custom-designed materials for use in various nanotechnological applications.
Another 2014 recruit to the BINA faculty is Dr. Lior Elbaz, an expert in electrocatalysis and fuel cells. After completing his undergraduate work and doctorate at Ben-Gurion University, Dr. Elbaz traveled to the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, USA, where– between 2009 and 2013 – he served as a postdoctoral associate. At Los Alamos, Dr. Elbaz focused on electrocatalysis, inorganic chemistry, and materials science and engineering, while expanding from his doctoral research – on bio-inspired catalysts for fuel cells – to the study of photovoltaics and ceramics. At BINA, Dr. Elbaz plans to work on the development of inexpensive catalysts for oxygen reduction (ORR), in order to increase fuel cell efficiency, reduce production costs, and compete with catalysts currently on the market, which are based on platinum and other precious metals. Through this research, Dr. Elbaz hopes to advance the commercialization of fuel cells as an attractive alternative to fossil fuels, lower pollution levels, and reduce Israel’s – and the free world’s – dependence on foreign oil.
An expert in optical processing, Dr. Moti Fridman is a Bar-Ilan alumnus who joins the BINA faculty after completing post-doctoral position at Cornell University. Active in science education and outreach activities throughout his academic career, Fridman did his graduate work at the Weizmann Institute, where he studied the physics of laser light within fibers and in free space, as well as fundamental laws governing synchronization in laser networks. During his post-doctoral fellowship at Cornell, he became the first researcher to demonstrate temporal cloaking– rendering an event invisible by preventing the interaction of light with that event for a certain period of time and space. Fridman’s advance has implications for future computation technologies in which conventional
data processing architecture would be replaced with all optical switches. More recently, Fridman demonstrated multi-stage temporal accelerated beams – another complex optical manipulation in which Fridman was able to bend light in time and make it accelerate beyond what is possible in previous methods. Currently, Fridman’s lab focuses on combining spatial manipulation and temporal manipulation of light by taking advantage of the duality between diffraction and dispersion. This research is a significant step toward the development of full spatio-temporal cloaking – something that might, eventually, turn Harry Potter’s fictional “invisibility cloak” into a reality. For more information about the study programs at BINA, click here.
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