New ERC grant at LMU

17 Apr 2023

Early-career scientist at LMU obtains prestigious Starting Grant from European Research Council for work on metasurfaces.

LMU nanoscientist Dr. Andreas Tittl has received a Starting Grant from the European Research Council (ERC) for his research. Starting Grant projects receive funding of around 1.5 million euros. Handed out based on the scientific excellence of the applicant and the proposed project, Starting Grants are among the most coveted research awards in Europe.

Andreas Tittl at the LMU Nanoinstitute


Dr. Andreas Tittl is an Emmy Noether Junior Research Group Leader in the Chair of Hybrid Nanosystems at LMU’s Nano-Institute in Munich. One of the main focuses of his work is on understanding and enhancing light-matter interactions with spectrally selective nano-optical systems.

With their unique mechanical, optical, and electronic properties, two-dimensional materials have spawned a revolution in the domain of solid-state physics. Alongside graphene, to give a prominent example of a quasi-metal, such 2D materials have also been found for semiconductors (the transition-metal dichalcogenides) and insulators (hexagonal boron nitride). Before now, however, achieving efficient coupling between the light waves and the electronic excitations in the material posed a major challenge specifically for 2D semiconductors. This results in considerable limitations for the generation of light on the nano scale and for quantum optics.

Nanoscientist Andreas Tittl (left) with his colleague Luca Sortino in his laboratory at LMU´s Nano-Institute.


In his ERC project METANEXT (Atomically Layered Materials for Next-Generation Metasurfaces), Andreas Tittl proposes a new approach, whereby optical metasurfaces with sharp resonances could be manufactured, for example, directly out of multilayer hexagonal boron nitride. Because it is possible to embed monolayers of 2D semiconductors in such metasurfaces, this allows the two systems to be coupled in a way that is spectrally precise while also strong. If alternating layers of different 2D materials (so-called heterostructures) are used as the basic foundations of metasurfaces, this opens up highly promising perspectives specifically for optoelectronics. In this regard, METANEXT aims particularly to enhance the emission of individual photons at defects in the 2D materials while also seeking to develop a chiral nanolaser.

Andreas Tittl studied physics at the University of Stuttgart, where he also completed a doctorate in 2015. After four years as a postdoc and fellow at EPFL (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology), he moved to LMU in 2019 to work as a postdoc under Prof. Stefan Maier. In 2020, he took up his current role as a research group leader at LMU.

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