Personal profile

Research interests

Nanophotonics is the branch of science that studies the light-matter interaction on a scale one million times smaller than a grain of sand. Here, things are so small we have to rethink our natural way of solving problems, and the typical top-down approach becomes inefficient. Gaining full control over the properties of artificial "meta-atoms" will enable the engineering of new materials and devices with unprecedented capabilities (such as invisibility, super-resolution imaging, bio- and quantum-computing, efficient and cost effective energy harvesting, etc.). For the first time in human history designers, scientists, and engineers, instead of sizing a problem with respect to the available capabilities, can think to provide themselves with the perfect tool even for the most ambitious goals.

Dr. Ferrera’s scientific mission is that one of exploring and unlocking the potentials of the most innovative material platforms for application in nanophotonics and quantum optics. His attention is fully focused on three of the most important aspects related to the realization of photonic devices such as numerical modelling, fabrication, and characterization. Supported by a professional and stimulating environment as well as the remarkable facilities available at Heriot-Watt University, Dr. Ferrera wants to play an important role in the upcoming technological revolution that will happen at a nanometric scale!

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 Dr. Marcello Ferrera attained his master degree in micro-electronic engineering in 2005 from The University of Palermo (Italy). In 2006, he started his doctoral studies in the UOP group at INRS-EMT (Canada), led by Prof. Roberto Morandotti. In 2007, he won the FQRNT doctoral fellowship, which sponsored his research on low-power nonlinear processes in doped silica structures. In 2010, he joined the group of Prof. Thomas F. Krauss (St. Andrews - UK) where he was dedicated to the numerical modelling and fabrication of silicon-nitride-based photonic modules. In 2012 he won the Marie-Curie IOF fellowship with the project “ATOMIC” developed and carried on inside the group of Prof. Vladimir Shalaev at Purdue University (USA). In 2014, Dr. Ferrera was appointed Lecturer at the School of Engineering and Physical Sciences at Heriot-Watt University in UK, where he leads the ASN group.

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Research Output 2008 2018

Dynamic Control of Nanocavities with Tunable Metal Oxides

Kim, J., Carnemolla, E. G., DeVault, C., Shaltout, A. M., Faccio, D., Shalaev, V. M., Kildishev, A. V., Ferrera, M. & Boltasseva, A. 14 Feb 2018 In : Nano Letters. 18, 2, p. 740-746 7 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

dynamic control
Zinc Oxide
zinc oxides

Optical Time Reversal from Time-Dependent Epsilon-Near-Zero Media

Vezzoli, S., Bruno, V., DeVault, C., Roger, T., Shalaev, V. M., Boltasseva, A., Ferrera, M., Clerici, M., Dubietis, A. & Faccio, D. 26 Jan 2018 In : Physical Review Letters. 120, 4, 043902

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
phase conjugation
internal conversion

Ultra-fast transient plasmonics using transparent conductive oxides

Ferrera, M. & Carnemolla, E. G. Feb 2018 In : Journal of Optics (United Kingdom). 20, 2, 024007

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Open Access
general overviews
electromagnetic coupling

Controlling hybrid nonlinearities in transparent conducting oxides via two-colour excitation

Clerici, M., Kinsey, N., DeVault, C., Kim, J., Carnemolla, E. G., Caspani, L., Shaltout, A., Faccio, D. F. A., Shalaev, V. M., Boltasseva, A. & Ferrera, M. 9 Jun 2017 In : Nature Communications. 8, 15829

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
Zinc oxide

Dynamic nanophotonics [Invited]

Ferrera, M., Kinsey, N., Shaltout, A., DeVault, C., Shalaev, V. & Boltasseva, A. Jan 2017 In : Journal of the Optical Society of America B: Optical Physics. 34, 1, p. 95-103 9 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Open Access
general overviews
optical properties
active control
dynamic characteristics


Enhanced nonlinear refractive index in epsilon-near-zero materials

Faccio, D. F. A. (Creator), Caspani, L. (Creator), Clerici, M. (Creator), Ferrera, M. (Creator), Heriot-Watt University, 19 Apr 2016