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Alejandro Manjavacas receives prestigious Royal Spanish Society of Physics award

Departmental News

UNM Physics & Astronomy assistant professor Alejandro Manjavacas

Posted: November 2, 2016

Alejandro Manjavacas, University of New Mexico Physics & Astronomy assistant professor, has been awarded the prestigious Royal Spanish Society of Physics - BBVA Foundation Award for Physics in the category of Novel Theoretical Physics and Experimental Physics. This distinction is awarded to investigators under 30 whose research has achieved great scientific value at the time of the announcement of the prize.

The Awards of the Royal Spanish Society of Physics (RSEF) and the BBVA Foundation include categories aimed at junior researchers, as well as teaching and dissemination of physics. Its purpose is to recognize high-quality research, encouraging younger researchers and fostering innovation. The category recognizes Spanish researchers in Physics that reveal the potential of the "nanoworld" to create new materials and combat diseases.

The award cites his work in “ the study of the interaction of light with physical structures of dimensions in the nanometer scale, and particularly metal and graphene nanostructures. Their theoretical predictions have inspired new lines of experimental research in nanophotonics.”

From the press release:

Manjavacas earned his doctoral thesis in the Research Group of Professor of Nanophotonics Javier García de Abajo at the CSIC Institute of Optics. In 2010 and 2011, he conducted research at Rice University (USA) and the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics (Germany). In 2013, his doctoral thesis earned the Extraordinary Doctoral Award and the Chiefs' prize for best thesis in theoretical solid state physics. From then until mid-2015, he returned to Rice University to work under the supervision of Professor Peter Nordlander.

Currently, Manjavacas leads the Nanophotonics Theory research group at UNM.

Manjavacas excels in the field of photonics, the "science of light," which could prove to be the revolution that responds to the challenges of the twenty-first century, as did electronics in the twentieth century. In particular, Manjavacas studies how light and matter at nanoscale interact. In such small dimensions, this interaction gives rise to completely new and unknown phenomena whose understanding would help to design increasingly sophisticated technology using light procedures. Manjavacas also investigates the optical response of graphene nanostructures, whose properties and potential technological application have earned it the label of "the material of the future."


• Fundación BBVA website
• Press release