Senior Science and Technology Fellow

The 2020 mission of the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy SunShot initiative is to make solar energy cost competitive with respect to traditional sources.

I am part of the Tech to Market team. I support the creation, negotiation, execution, and monitoring of funding opportunities for start-ups as well as large companies with the goal of commercializing new innovation in the solar community. I support the management of a $20M portfolio of awards designed to develop new technologies covering the entire value chain of the solar industry, from hardware to software solutions, to new business models for soft cost reductions. I am also involved in the negotiation and execution of awards funding solar energy technology evolution and diffusion studies.

In addition, I am part of an internal evaluation team with the goal of establishing procedures based on quantifiable metrics to measure the success and impact of the office funding opportunities. I also contribute to the definition of strategic office decisions (development of new funding opportunities, definition of an investment thesis for the team and long-term office mission and goals).

The Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) Science and Technology Policy (STP) Fellowships serve as a next step in the educational and professional development of scientists and engineers interested in energy efficiency and renewable energy policy. The EERE STP Fellowships provide an opportunity for highly talented scientists and engineers to participate in policy-related projects at DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy in Washington, D.C. EERE STP Fellows apply the expertise gained from their education and history of conducting research to new and ongoing EERE initiatives.

Group facilitator

Selected as group facilitator for the “Management Matters” class organized and offered by the Office of the Vice Provost for Graduate Education at Stanford University. Management Matters is one of several VPGE workshops designed to help graduate students develop a range of skills needed in any professional environment. Offered in Winter 2016, Management Matters consists of three sessions focused on managing people: working with different communication styles; setting expectations; and giving and receiving feedback.

As a facilitator, I am responsible for a group of attendees during break-out sessions. These sessions include participatory activities involving challenging scenarios and developing strategies for effectively managing people at various levels of an organization.


I am the founder and first licensee of TEDxSSC. I was the Chief Organizer of TEDxSSC 2014 and TEDxSSCLive 2015, and Co-chair & Executive Producer of TEDxSSC 2015. Each of these TEDx events had 250+ guests, 15+ speakers, 30+ organizing team members, $10k budget.

TED is a world-wide recognized brand ensuring high quality talks, speakers and ideas. In 2014 I was President of the SSC Alumni Association; along with the Student Association and the academic leaders, we decided to bring TED experience in our institution and community through TEDxSSC. In fact, many of the TEDx values match our institution values (interdisciplinarity, fostering new ideas, spreading innovation and creativity). TEDx mission is to communicate the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and, ultimately, the world. Our speakers were unheard local voices as well as known personalities.

In our first edition, we demonstrated how uncommon ideas and people (the exceptions) can make a real difference, change the world and set a new standard for our everyday life. We chose an extremely fascinating theme: “Dall’eccezione alla regola” (“From the exception to the standard”). The theme of the second edition was “Nonostante – idee, scelte e storie che sfidano ogni limite” (“Nevertheless – ideas, choices, and stories challenging all possible limits”). We presented ideas, technologies, stories that have emerged and succeeded despite limits of space and time, unfortunate contexts, intrinsic challenges.


More info at Follow us @TEDxSSC. Like us on Facebook.

Photonic-plasmonic linear and non-linear coupling

Glass is transparent. Metals are shiny. A piece of wood is opaque. Each material has a different relationship with light. Some materials let light go through; others reflect back; others absorb it. This is true also at the nanoscale. In addition, optical properties at the nanoscale are even more interesting. Imagine if your gold ring would change its color if you break it in half, or if you change its size anyhow. In fact, this is what happens for nano-sized metals and semiconductors. In particular, metals can act as an antenna for light. Gold nanopads have the ability to redirect light in specific directions and locations. Semiconductors change their response to light depending on its size and shape. What about coupling the two systems?

Within this research field, I investigated the optical properties of new semiconductor architectures (V-shaped membranes). Fabrication of these structures is very challenging and we did it in collaboration with Prof. Fontcuberta group at EPFL. I studied the their optical properties, analyzing the change in the scattering spectra as the size is changed. I used second harmonic generation to probe the non-linear properties of such nanostructures, finding very interesting correlation between structural properties and optical behavior.

Second harmonic excitation spectroscopy is a very powerful too to investigate material properties. I used it to characterize substoichiometric silicon nitride thin films, to elucidate size-dependent effects on gold nanoparticles, and to obtain polarization-controlled multispectral nanofocusing of metal nanoantennas.

Moreover, I investigated the coupling between photonic and plasmonic properties. In collaboration with EPFL, we designed gold nanoantenna arrays coupled with gallium arsenide nanowires. By using second harmonic excitation spectroscopy, we elucidated all the coupling effects in these systems and we showed that new modes emerge at expenses of the expected structural resonances.

These projects have been funded by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, and performed during my experience at Boston University.

Publication output

Conference proceedings

  • Integration of metallic nanostructures on nanowires for modification of their optical properties
    A. Casadei, E. Alarcon-Llado, E. F. Pecora, J. Trevino, C. Forestiere, D. Ruffer, E. Russo-Averchi, F. Matteini, G. Tutuncuoglu, M. Heiss, L. Dal Negro, A. Fontcuberta i Morral
    Frontiers in Nanophotonics, CSF Conference 2015
  • Second harmonic excitation spectroscopy in studies of Fano-type coupling in plasmonic arrays
    G. F. Walsh, J. Tervino, E. F. Pecora, L. Dal Negro
    SPIE Optics + Photonics 2015
  • Engineering light coupling in single nanowire with metal nano-antennas
    A. Casadei, J. Trevino, E. F. Pecora, E. Alarcò- Lladò, D. Ruffer, E. Russo-Averchi, G. Tutuncuoglu, F. Matteini, C. Forestiere, L. Dal Negro, A. Fontcuberta i Morral
    International Conference on One dimensional Nanomaterials ICON 2013
  • Second-harmonic generation from plasmonic nanoantennas and arrays
    A. Capretti, C. Forestiere, E. F. Pecora, G. Walsh, J. Trevino, S. Minissale, L. Dal Negro, G. Miano
    The International Conference on Surface Plasmon Photonics SPP6
  • Second-harmonic generation in substoichiometric silicon nitride layers
    E. F. Pecora, A. Capretti, G. Miano, L. Dal Negro
    Bulletin of the American Physical Society, vol. 58, V1.00119

Photonic-Plasmonic Coupling of GaAs Single Nanowires to Optical Nanoantennas

We successfully demonstrate the plasmonic coupling between metal nanoantennas and individual GaAs nanowires (NWs). In particular, by using dark-field scattering and second harmonic excitation spectroscopy in partnership with analytical and full-vector FDTD modeling, we demonstrate controlled electromagnetic coupling between individual NWs and plasmonic nanoantennas with gap sizes varied between 90 and 500 nm. The significant electric field enhancement values (up to 20×) achieved inside the NW-nanoantennas gap regions allowed us to tailor the nonlinear optical response of NWs by engineering the plasmonic near-field coupling regime. These findings represent an initial step toward the development of coupled metal–semiconductor resonant nanostructures for the realization of next generation solar cells, detectors, and nonlinear optical devices with reduced footprints and energy consumption.

For more info:

Generation of second harmonic radiation from sub-stoichiometric silicon nitride thin films

Enhancing second-order optical processes in Si-compatible materials is important for the demonstration of innovative functionalities and nonlinear optical devices integrated on a chip. Here, we demonstrate significantly enhanced Second-Harmonic Generation (SHG) by silicon-rich silicon nitride materials over a broad spectral range, and show a maximum conversion efficiency of 4.5 x 10-6 for sub-stoichiometric samples with 46 at. % silicon. The SHG process in silicon nitride thin films is systematically investigated over a range of material stoichiometry and thermal annealing conditions. These findings can enable the engineering of innovative Si-based devices for nonlinear signal processing and sensing applications on a Si platform.

For more info:

Vertical III-V V-shaped membranes epitaxially grown on a patterned Si[001] substrate and their enhanced light scattering

We report on a new form of III–V compound semiconductor nanostructures growing epitaxially as vertical V-shaped nanomembranes on Si(001) and study their light-scattering properties. Precise position control of the InAs nanostructures in regular arrays is demonstrated by bottom-up synthesis using molecular beam epitaxy in nanoscale apertures on a SiO2 mask. The InAs V-shaped nanomembranes are found to originate from the two opposite facets of a rectangular pyramidal island nucleus and extend along two opposite 111 B directions, forming flat {110} walls. Dark-field scattering experiments, in combination with light-scattering theory, show the presence of distinctive shape-dependent optical resonances significantly enhancing the local intensity of incident electromagnetic fields over tunable spectral regions. These new nanostructures could have interesting potential in nanosensors, infrared light emitters, and nonlinear optical elements.

For more info: