My research focuses on optical properties of nanostructured materials. Advances in nanofabrication techniques now allow us to pattern materials on a scale smaller than the wavelength of light. I am interested in harnessing this capability to create novel nanophotonic devices for application areas including optical communications, solar energy, and materials. In my work, I use theory and computational simulations to investigate novel optical behavior and device functionality in such systems as photonic crystals, metamaterials, and microresonators. I am also working on the fabrication and experimental characterization of photonic-crystal slab devices. Particular topics of interest include optically-induced forces and nanostructured solar cells.
Michelle L. Povinelli joined the USC faculty in 2008 as an Assistant Professor and holds the WiSE Jr. Gabilan Chair. She is the recipient of an Army Young Investigator Award, a NSF CAREER Award, and the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. In 2010, she was selected for the TR35 award by Technology Review Magazine, which honors top innovators under age 35. Dr. Povinelli earned a BA with Honors in Physics from the University of Chicago, an M. Phil in Physics from the University of Cambridge, and a PhD in Physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She did postdoctoral work at Stanford University in the Department of Electrical Engineering. She was awarded several graduate fellowships, including the Lucent Technologies GRPW Fellowship, the NSF Graduate Fellowship, the MIT Karl Taylor Compton Fellowship, and the Churchill Fellowship. In 2006, she was one of five national recipients of a $20,000 L'Oréal For Women in Science Postdoctoral Fellowship award. She has co-authored more than thirty refereed journal articles and co-invented three US Patents.