Furchi's research stay at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (USA)

Marco Furchi' spent time at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, USA from the end of June 2015 to the end of December 2015 where he carried out research at the Department of Physics in a group led by Professor Pablo Jarillo-Herrero. He investigated the optical properties of atomically thin transition metal dichalcogenide layers. Motivated by his work published in the internationally renowned journal "Nano Letters" (Furchi' et al. 2014) which focused on innovative solar cells made of the aforementioned material, he sought to investigate previously unexplained properties. The aim was to increase efficiency by achieving a better understanding of the fundamental properties of these materials. As the initial measurements came in, it soon became clear that the planned experiments would take much longer than half a year, so he decided to switch focus. "Pablo told me about a new project in his group. It was about integration of optical communication in a silicon chip. I was interested right away. This means higher data rates can be achieved while reducing power loss," reports Furchi'. The results achieved in collaboration with Professor Dirk Englund's group (Research Laboratory of Electronics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology) are currently being prepared for publication.

In addition to the academic work, Furchi' also found day-to-day life at Massachusetts Institute of Technology extremely instructive. The strong connection that the students and graduates have with their alma mater, the higher staff-to-student ratio and the high student fees are the most striking differences between Massachusetts Institute of Technology and TU Wien according to Furchi'. "Due to the enormous financial resources, collaborations between different research groups are much more straightforward. Use of a different laboratory, even lending extremely expensive equipment, which can easily be worth more than a five-digit amount in dollars, are a matter of course when it comes to research at Massachusetts Institute of Technology," explained Furchi' upon his return. Furchi' felt his stay in Cambridge was extremely worthwhile and productive. He therefore recommends taking advantage of existing exchange opportunities as part of one's studies.