Antonio Badolato wins an NSF CAREER Award

April 2, 2015

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has granted its most prestigious award in support of junior faculty, the Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program, to three University of Rochester researchers: Antonio Badolato, Danielle Benoit, and Michael Neidig.

The NSF CAREER award is given to promising scientists early in their careers and recognizes “outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research.” The award also comes with a federal grant towards their research and education activities.

“NSF CAREER awards recognize outstanding researchers early on in their careers ,” said Provost Peter Lennie. “These awards are a powerful testimonial to the exceptional talents of our young faculty, who contribute so much to our vitality, and of whom we are very proud.”

Photo of Antonio Badolato

Antonio Badolato, assistant professor of physics. Photo by Brandon Vick/University of Rochester.

Badolato, assistant professor of physics, won a CAREER award for his proposal to harness the quantum nature of light in semiconductor nanostructures. The goal of the project is to confine light in nanophotonic structures that mimic genetic evolution and then produce, from a tiny chip, a type of light that is very different from the light generated by the sun or by a laser, for example.

Badolato explained that this research can transform how light and electronics are integrated on a chip. “Advances in this field have the potential to lead to computing and communication devices with superior performances, and with transformative applications in defense, energy, and manufacturing,” said Badolato. He added that the project also has strong implications at a fundamental level; a better understanding of the nature of light is tied to modern physics and measurement theory.

“I am honored to receive a NSF CAREER award,” Badolato said. “I want to build on Rochester’s long tradition in the field of optics and extend it into condensed matter, applying new advances in nanotechnology and materials science.”

Badolato was born in Italy and studied there before coming to the U.S. for his graduate studies, earning a Ph.D. from the University of California at Santa Barbara in 2005. He joined the University of Rochester as an assistant professor in 2009 after a few years in Switzerland as postdoctoral researcher and senior scientist at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH).