02 July 2019 New Tenured Group Leader

Prof Simon Wall

Prof. Simon Wall awarded tenure at ICFO. Prof. Simon Wall, leader of the Ultrafast Dynamics in Quantum Solids group at ICFO, has been awarded tenure at ICFO by the Board of Trustees of the institute.

Prof. Wall is originally from Leamington Spa (UK). He received his PhD from Oxford University, where he worked on Photo-induced dynamics in complex materials probed with femtosecond X-rays and few-cycle optical pulses. After his PhD, he worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the Fritz Haber Institute of the Max Planck Society, where his research dealt with probing the structural and magnetic dynamics during ultrafast phase transitions.

Simon arrived at ICFO in 2012 as a NEST Fellow endowed by the Cellex Foundation Barcelona to support outstandingly talented and creative young group leaders. He founded his research group focusing on the manipulation of the magnetic, structural and electronic states of matter with ultrafast electric fields to induce new properties when materials are driven out of equilibrium.

In September 2017, the European Research Council awarded Simon the prestigious ERC Starting Grant to pursue the project “Probing nanoscale and femtosecond fluctuations in high temperature superconductors (SeeSuper)”, which aims to adopt a new approach to study high temperature superconductivity, the spectacular quantum phenomena that enables materials to conduct electricity without resistance. In addition, he has had high impact publications, including the November 2018 study published in Science providing a new perspective on how light can be used to control matter.

Future directions for the group will be to exploit nearly the entire electromagnetic spectrum, from low energy THz electric fields to high energy hard X-rays to probe and look at the atomic structure of quantum materials on atomic and nanoscale, in order to understand how properties such as superconductivity can be harnessed and controlled.