Tuesday, 17 May 2022
10:09 AM – 10:48 AM EDT




Dr. Giovanni Maria Vanacore, tenure-track professor of Experimental Physics at the University of Milano-Bicocca (Italy) and head of the Laboratory of Ultrafast Microscopy for Nanoscale Dynamics (LUMiNaD) and Michael Birk, M.Sc. student at the Physics Department at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology (Israel) are the speakers at the first Science Bash organised by SMART-electron.

This informal science cafe will be held at the Frisch School (Paramus, NJ, USA), where students will have the chance to learn about the latest progress made in advanced ultrafast transmission electron microscopy, from a leading expert in the field.

For the students, it is also a great chance to talk with a working professional about their career options in physics and other science-related fields.


Many technological advancements of the 20th century derived from the ability to control two elementary particles: the electron, the quantum of electrical charge, and the photon, the quantum of light. After the scientific revolution introduced by quantum mechanics in the 1920s and 30s, today the world is witnessing an exciting second quantum revolution, where the awe-inspiring properties of the quantum realm are used to overcome the limits of modern technology.

This is having and will have important repercussions in the fields of computation, communication, materials investigation, as well as biosensing and medicine.

The key aspect to make such potential a reality is the ability to control the electrodynamical interaction between electrons and photons at the fundamental level. The interaction between light and electrons can be exploited for generating radiation, such as in synchrotrons and free-electron lasers, or for controlling electron beams for the dynamical investigation of materials and molecules, enabling new applications in light-assisted quantum devices and diagnostics at extremely small timescales.

In this science café the speakers will describe a novel method, called Ultrafast Transmission Electron Microscopy, that uses pulses of relativistic electrons and photons in order to image natural phenomena evolving at extremely small spatial scales and extremely fast temporal scales.

In particular, thanks to the quantised nature of the energy exchange between a free-electron and a photon, researchers have been able to capture movies of rapidly evolving localised electromagnetic waves in photonic nanostructures.

These results do not represent just a mere fundamental curiosity, but they are demonstrations of a novel unique capability to control and manipulate material functionalities, for a new generation of applications.

This event is organised by the SMART-electron EC-funded project with the collaboration of:

University of Milano Bicocca (ITALY)
Technion – Israel Institute of Technology (ISRAEL)
QED F&S Productions Ltd. (UK)
The Frisch School (USA)

Special thanks to:

Rabbi Eli Ciner, Principal, Frisch School
Dr. Maren Scharf, Director of General Studies, Science Faculty, Frisch School
Dr. Mindy Furman, Chair of the Science Department, Frisch School
Dr. David Winkler, English Faculty, Foreign Languages Faculty, Frisch School

About the speakers

Giovanni Maria Vanacore received his B.Sc. (July 2005) and M.Sc. (Dec. 2007) in Physics Engineering from the Politecnico di Milano (Milano, Italy), with a major in condensed matter physics, nanotechnology and lasers. He also received a M.Sc. in Mathematics Engineering (Feb. 2008) from the Politecnico di Torino (Turin, Italy) and a Diploma in Management of Innovation (Feb. 2008) from the Alta Scuola Politecnica. In January 2008 he started his Ph.D. in Physics in co-tutorship between the Politecnico di Milano and the École Polytechnique X (Paris, France) under the guidance of Prof. Alberto Tagliaferri, Dr. Nicholas Barrett, and Prof. Henri-Jean Drouhin (Italian/French joint degree). During his Ph.D., Dr. Vanacore worked on the investigation of electronic and structural properties of semiconductor nanostructures using spectromicroscopy techniques. In November 2011, he joined as Postdoctoral Scholar the group of Prof. Ahmed H. Zewail (1999 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry) at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), where his research activity was focused on the investigation of ultrafast phenomena in nanomaterials by means of ultrafast electron diffraction and ultrafast electron microscopy. In February 2016, he moved to Switzerland at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) joining the group of Prof. Fabrizio Carbone as Scientist. During his stay at EPFL, he was awarded an International Fellowship co-founded by Marie Sklodowska-Curie Action (March 2016, H2020 – MSCA – COFUND 2016, GA n. 665667). Here, he explored new methods for the coherent longitudinal and transverse phase manipulation of a free-electron wave function using light pulses with attosecond precision, and demonstrated for the first time the generation of ultrafast vortex electron pulses. In March 2018, Dr. Vanacore obtained the Italian national academic qualification as associate professor in experimental matter physics. Since December 2019, he is a Tenure Track Assistant Professor at the University of Milano-Bicocca and head of the Laboratory of Ultrafast Microscopy for Nanoscale Dynamics (LUMiNaD), where his activity is dedicated to the investigation of ultrafast phenomena in nanoscale low-dimensional materials using ultrafast electron microscopy.

Michael Birk is an M.Sc. student at the physics department at the Technion, under the joint supervision of professors Ido Kaminer and Oren Cohen. After graduating magna cum laude from the Technion with a double B.Sc. in Electrical Engineering and Physics, he served as an R&D officer and team leader in the Israeli navy. Having completed his military service, he is now pursuing his research on the use and generation of quantum light states in extreme nonlinear optics.He received the KLA-Tencor scholarship during his M.Sc.