Ileana-Cristina Benea-Chelmus


Ileana-Cristina Benea-Chelmus is an Assistant Professor of Microengineering at the Institute of Electro and Microengineering at EPFL since January 2022. She is also a Research Associate affiliated with the group of Prof. Federico Capasso at Harvard University.

Prior to her appointment, she was a Postdoctoral scientist and SNF fellow in the group of Prof. Federico Capasso at Harvard University, USA in the John A. Harvard school of engineering and applied sciences since March 2019 to December 2021. She lead efforts on tunable metasurfaces enabled by nonlinear optics, supported through a personal grant from the Hans-Eggenberger Foundation. Apart from science, she was actively driving advocacy work within the postdoctoral association at Harvard.

She holds a Bachelor Degree in Electrical Engineering and Information Technology (2010) and a Master Degree with distinction in Optics and Photonics (2013) – both from KIT, Germany. During her master, she spent one year at EPFL (2011) as an ERASMUS Exchange student in Physics, where she acquired in-depth knowledge of solid-state physics, quantum mechanics and biotechnology. During her Bachelor, she received a stipend from the Anna-Ruths Foundation. In the summer of 2009, she was awarded a research stipend from DAAD “Rise in North America” to perform a summer internship at Vanderbilt University, TN, and became a scholar of SyBBURE. For her Master studies, Ileana-Cristina was awarded an excellence stipend from the Karlsruhe School of Optics and Photonics which she absolved with merits. She was selected to participate in extended carrier building programs such as "Female talents at IBM and KIT" as well as "Femtec". She did a summer internship at IMEC in Belgium and IBM Research in Zurich under the supervision of Dr. Armin Knoll. For her Master thesis she decided to join the group of Prof. Jérôme Faist and work on terahertz quantum cascade lasers and their applications in spectroscopy. She continued with her Ph.D. thesis in the same lab on quantum science. She started very early to drive a substantial proportion of the research work done in the framework of an ERC Advanced grant. She developed, as the first one in this field, the research branch of time-domain quantum optics at terahertz frequencies. She developed ultrasensitive time-domain detectors.

She received several awards so far

2021 PRIMA independent research grant from the Swiss National Science Foundation, 2019 Hans Eggenberger Prize and Independent Project Grant (Junior Principal Investigator),

2019 SNSF Early Mobility Fellowship Grant,

2019 Ph.D. thesis prize of the European Physical Society – QEOD (awarded every two years),

2019 Ph.D. thesis prize from the Swiss Physical Society in the area of Metrology (awarded every year),

2017 1st place best student presentation award at IRMMW, Cancun, Mexico, 2017 best student paper award at SPIE Photonics West, San Francisco, USA,

2016 best student paper award at SPIE Photonics West, San Francisco, USA,

2012 KSOP master scholarship,

2011 FEMTEC career building program for female students in STEM fields,

2010 IBM and KIT female talents, 2009 DAAD Rise in North America

2009 SyBBURE for summer internship at Vanderbilt, TN, USA,

2008 Anna-Ruths undergraduate scholarship.

She engages with various communities, centers and associations at EPFL and Harvard.

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