Niek F. van Hulst

Niek F. van Hulst

Institut de Ciències Fotòniques

Engineering Sciences

Following study in Astronomy and Physics, I obtained my PhD (1986) in Molecular & Laser-Physics at the University of Nijmegen (the Netherlands), on microwave-laser double resonance molecular-beam spectroscopy. After research in non-linear optics of organic materials, integrated optics, atomic force and near-field optical microscopy, since 1997 full Professor at MESA+ Institute for NanoTechnology, University of Twente (the Netherlands) with focus on single molecule detection and scanning probe technology. In 2005, attracted by the Catalan quality-based science policy, I started as ICREA Research Professor and senior group leader at ICFO - the Institute of Photonic Sciences, within The Barcelona Institute of Science & Technology; also I am Head Academic Programs and NanoFabrication Lab at ICFO. Recipient of 2003 Körber European Science Award, 2010 City of Barcelona Prize; ERC Advanced Grants in 2010 and 2015, PoC in 2017; 2017 European Physical Society Prize.

Research interests

My current interest is to control light interaction at the nanometer scale. To this end, my group specializes on optical antennas, with nanoscale hot spots, and on coherent control schemes to command light on the “femto-nano” scale. We study individual molecules, quantum dots and single proteins, in strong interaction with nanoantenna-cavities and sub-10-fs pulses; controlling excitation-emission rates, direction, spectra, polarization, single photon character. We focus particularly on transport and coupling in single light-harvesting antenna complexes at native conditions, to unravel the efficiency and robustness of energy conversion in such natural molecular antennas. At ICFO I aim to stimulate young researchers, towards well-rooted skilled scientists and assertive critical thinkers, ready to shape their future and sustain the world. To reflect & recharge, I like to touch ground in the Massis del Garraf or to stroll around the coast, inspired by the ancient Mediterranean waters.

Selected publications

– Liebel M, Pazos-Perez N, van Hulst NF & Alvarez-Puebla RA 2020, “Surface-Enhanced Raman Scattering Holography“, Nature NanoTechnology 15 (12) 1005-1011

– Saemisch L, Liebel M & van Hulst NF 2020, “Control of Vibronic Transition Rates by Resonant Single-Molecule-Nanoantenna Coupling“, Nano Lett. 20 (6), 4537-4542

– Palombo Blascetta N, Liebel M, Lu X, Taniguchi T, Watanabe K, Efetov DK & van Hulst NF 2020, “Nanoscale Imaging & Control of hBN Single Photon Emitters by a Resonant Nano-antenna”, Nano Lett. 20 (3), 1992-1999

– Liebel M, Ortega Arroyo J, Sanz Beltrán V, Osmond J, Jo A, Lee H, Quidant R & van Hulst NF 2020, ‘3D tracking of extracellular vesicles by holographic fluorescence imaging’. Sci. Adv. 6 (45), eabc2508

– Gellings E, Cogdell RJ & van Hulst NF, 2020, “Room-Temperature Excitation-Emission Spectra of Single LH2 Complexes Show Remarkably Little Variation”, J. Phys. Chem. Lett. 11 (7), 2430-2435

– Saemisch L, Liebel M, van Hulst NF 2020, “Isolating strong nanoantenna-molecule interactions by ensemble-level single-molecule detection“, NanoScale 12 (6), 3723-3730

– Palombo Blascetta N, Lombardi P, Toninelli C & van Hulst NF 2020, “Cold and Hot Spots: from Inhibition to Enhancement by Nanoscale Phase Tuning of Optical Nanoantennas“, Nano Lett. 20 (9), 6756–6762

– Singh A, Hugall JT, Calbris G & van Hulst NF 2020, “Far-field Control of Nanoscale Hot-spots by Near-field Interference”, ACS-Photonics 7, 2381−2389

– Sanz-Paz M, Wenger J, van Hulst NF, Mivelle M & Garcia-Parajo MF 2020, “Nanoscale Control of Single-Molecule FRET by a Scanning Photonic Nanoantenna”, Nanophotonics 9 (12), 4021–4031

Selected research activities

Conference organisation: S3IC-2020 Barcelona, Nanolight-2020 Benasque, Symposium EG at CLEO-Europe’21 Munich

Speaker at: CLEO-USA’20, ImagineNano, E3S, ITN-MUSIQ-school + several online