Rising Stars 2020:

Laura Kim

Postdoctoral Scholar

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

PhD '19 California Institute of Technology

Areas of Interest

  • Micro/Nano Electro Mechanical Systems
  • Nanophotonics
  • Plasmonics
  • Quantum sensing and materials


Nanophotonics and Plasmonics for Understanding Quantum Materials and Enabling New Quantum Technologies


The ability to enhance and manipulate the interaction of light with matter at will, down to the level of individual quanta, is crucial to enable new quantum technologies. Plasmonics is a promising avenue to achieve sub-wavelength control of light-matter interactions. When surface plasmon oscillations are bound to an atomically thin van der Waals material, extreme confinement and tunability of the electromagnetic energy can be achieved. As the optical properties of graphene are dominated by plasmon excitations in the mid-infrared spectral range, researchers became excited about the possibilities for plasmon-based light emission mechanisms. In the first part of the presentation, I will present theoretical predictions and experimental validations of mid-infrared hot-plasmon-assisted light emission in graphene. Such emission processes emerge from an ultrafast coupling of optically excited carriers into plasmon excitations, producing non-Planckian emission behavior that is not dictated by emitters’ temperatures. This work reveals novel infrared light emitting processes, both spontaneous and stimulated, and provides a platform for achieving ultrafast, ultrabright, on-chip mid-infrared light sources. In the second part of the presentation, I will present an example where surface plasmon polaritons can mediate spin-photon interactions and enable a new type of quantum sensing device. A diamond plasmonic metasurface containing nitrogen vacancy (NV) spin ensembles achieves local field concentration over a micron-scale NV layer and enables shot-noise-limited sensing with a standard camera, eliminating the need of single-photon detectors for wide-field imaging. The projected sensitivity of the studied metasurface is below 1 nT /√Hz per µm² of sensing area, making it appealing for the most demanding applications such as imaging through scattering tissue and spatially-resolved chemical NMR detection.


Laura Kim is currently an IC Postdoctoral Fellow in the Quantum Photonics Laboratory led by Professor Dirk Englund at MIT. She received her B.S. in chemical engineering and Ph.D. in materials science as a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellow under the supervision of Professor Harry Atwater, both from California Institute of Technology. Her doctoral research focused on understanding light-matter interactions in two-dimensional materials ranging from mid-infrared nanophotonics to ultrafast phenomena in graphene. Her current research involves interfacing nitrogen vacancy centers in diamond with nanophotonic and plasmonic platforms to develop nanoscale quantum sensing strategies and enable new quantum technologies.