2019 research activities
The Chemical and Biological Physics Department provides an interdisciplinary home to a broad range of topics spanning Physics, Chemistry and Biology. The Department is composed by over 20 tenured and tenure-track physicists and chemists, evenly split between theorists and experimentalists, and working on the following broad areas
Fundamental quantum frontiers are explored with advanced theoretical tools, including topics in the quantum control of atomic and molecular dynamics (Ilya Averbukh, Eli Pollak, David Tannor); light-matter interactions (Ilya Averbukh, Gershon Kurizki, David Tannor); fundamental issues in quantum information, control and thermodynamics (Gershon Kurizki, David Tannor); ab-initio quantum chemistry and surface scattering (Eli Pollak); and real time quantum dynamics methods (Eli Pollak, David Tannor).
The department has a strong program at the interface between classical physics, chemistry and biology. Eran Bouchbinder studies the plasticity of disordered systems, glassy phenomena, dynamic fracture, frictional interfaces and biophysics. Itamar Procaccia studies turbulence, as well as the physics of fractals, glass formation and mechanical properties of amorphous systems. Theoretical biological physics is the main thrust of research of Nir Gov, who models with predictive power emerging phenomena ranging from cellular shapes to the collective behavior of insects. Samuel Safran employs statistical thermodynamics to study the structure, phase behavior and dynamics of soft matter in biology.
The chemistry/biology interface is also studied and evaluated experimentally by Roy Bar-Ziv, who develops and explores living-like systems in cell-free environments, and by Michael Elbaum, who employs advanced microscopic tools to elucidate the complex behavior of cells and biomolecules.
Experimental atomic and molecular spectroscopies are also mainstays of the Department. Quantum optics is the focus of Barak Dayan’s experiments on atom mediated photon-photon interactions. Light matter interaction, nonlinear laser spectroscopy and plasmonics are the focus of the experimental research of Yehiam Prior. Edvardas Narevicius is a leader in using magnetic field control and the slowing down of molecular beams to study quantum effects in sympathetically cooled systems. Oren Tal has developed unique methods for the study of single molecule conductors, including electronic, spintronic and thermal conductivity effects. Molecular electronics and spin-chemistry are also main themes of research for Ron Naaman, who investigates these using organic-inorganic interfaces via self-assembled monolayers. Single molecule spectroscopy and its application to a broad range of topics, from protein dynamics to nanoplasmonics, are at the center of the experimental program of Gilad Haran. Baran Eren exploits new forms of microscopy and spectroscopy, to understand the chemistry and electronic behavior of solid surfaces under relevant conditions with unprecedented accuracy.
A centerpiece of the combined experimental/theoretical program in the Department rests on Magnetic Resonance research. Amit Finkler bridges this topic with optics, in a program relying on optically-detected magnetic resonance as an emerging form of quantum sensing.Lucio Frydman and his group focus on developing and utilizing new concepts and techniques in NMR and MRI, with applications ranging from Physics to Biology and Medicine. Assaf Tal's group focuses on developing new spectroscopy and imaging tools for understanding the brain's physiology in-vivo. Shimon Vega and Daniella Goldfarb are developing and utilizing dynamic nuclear polarization methods for NMR and EPR research, with the Vega group also deeply involved in solid state NMR, and the Goldfarb research also focused on multiple-resonance high-field EPR techniques applied to biophysics and materials science. Although emeritus, Zeev Luzstill partakes of these efforts with his research on liquid crystal NMR.
The diverse interests as represented above have created an atmosphere of outstanding scientific creativity. Members of the Department have overlapping interests and collaborations among themselves, with other scientists throughout the Weizmann Institute, and with scientists throughout the world. New training opportunities for students and postdocs are always emerging, at whose conclusion participating scientists will have been exposed to a broad spectrum of challenges and acquired state-of-the-art knowledge. If you are interested in joining this elite group of researchers as a M.Sc., Ph.D or postdoctoral trainee, do not hesitate to contact the expert(s) of your choice.