Zuerch Lab
Zuerch Lab


Welcome to the Zuerch Lab

The Zuerch Lab at the University of California at Berkeley experimentally explores 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. For this we pursue 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. We employ state-of-the-art methods and develop novel nonlinear X-ray spectroscopies in our lab and at large-scale facilities. Specifically, we are 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.

Learn more about our research.

  • Investigation of carrier dynamics in 2D heterojunctions
  • Measuring spin dynamics by attosecond magnetic diffraction
  • Extreme photonics and nonlinear optics
  • Attosecond pulse generation and spectroscopy

    Latest news:

    Michael is awarded the 2021 Fresnel Prize by the European Physical Society (QEOD)!
    Jun 22 2021

    Michael was awarded the 2021 Fresnel Prize by the European Physical Society – Quantum Electronics and Optics Division in the “fundamental research” category. The Fresnel Prize is awarded every 2 years to a researcher 35 years or younger, one each in the areas of fundamental and applied research. The award ceremony took place virtually during the CLEO Europe conference.

    New paper out: Table-top extreme ultraviolet second harmonic generation
    May 19 2021

    Nonlinear optical spectroscopies have significantly advanced the understanding of chemical dynamics at surfaces. One limitation in the optical regime has been the constrain to valence dynamics making probing in complex chemical environments and attributing dynamics to specific atomic species difficult. We now demonstrate second harmonic generation (SHG) on titanium in the extreme ultraviolet (XUV) using a femtosecond table-top laser. We show that the observed XUV-SHG emission is specific to the inversion-symmetry broken surface of titanium. These findings open new possibilities to study chemical dynamics at surfaces and buried interfaces from the viewport of a specific atomic species.

    In collaboration with Institut Polytechnique de Paris, UC San Diego, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, and the Friedrich Schiller University Jena.

    Congratulations to Emma for her first shared-first author paper and to Lars for his first paper in the group!

    Our paper appeared in Science Advances and was selected as cover featured article:
    Press release from the College of Chemistry:

    Welcome Nadia, Finn, Sophia, William & Douglas
    Apr 23 2021

    We are so excited to welcome several new group members starting April and May 2021! Nadia Berndt joins us as an undergraduate researcher working on time-resolved spectroscopy on encapsulated monolayer TMDC nano discs. Finn Kohrell (Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Germany) is a visiting student researcher funded by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)  conducting research for his Master thesis on non-equilibrium dynamics in the superconducting state of 2D TMDCs at low temperatures for the next year. Sophia Fang (MIT) joins us for the summer as NSF-REU student and will work on attosecond pulse generation and dynamics. William Alexander is a freshman in Chemistry and Entrepreneurship and joins us as undergraduate researcher exploring new ways for applying virtual reality in lab instruction and laser lab operation. Last but not least, Douglas Heine (Michigan State University) joins us this summer as NSF-REU student working on simulating strong-field excitations in two-dimensional semiconductors.

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