Esther A. Wertz

Assistant Professor, Physics, Applied Physics & Astronomy

Dr. Esther Wertz obtained her B.S. in Physics from the University of Paris 7 in 2005. She received her PhD in Physics in 2010 for the work she did with Dr. Jacqueline Bloch at the Laboratory for Photonics and Nanostructures in Marcoussis, France. There she pioneered the lab’s work on the formation and manipulation of polariton condensates in GaAs microcavities. Esther did her postdoctoral work with Dr. Julie Biteen at the University of Michigan, investigating the use of single-molecule techniques to probe the interactions between plasmonic antennas and single fluorescent dyes and proteins. She is the recipient of a PicoQuant Young Investigator Award. In 2015, Esther joined the Department of Physics, Applied Physics, & Astronomy at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute as an Assistant Professor.
Esther's research at Rensselaer centers on the study of light-matter interactions at the nanoscale. Her work focuses on investigating the changes in these interactions in the vicinity of small metal nanoparticles using super-resolution microscopy techniques, and on designing materials or structures that interface with light in predetermined ways. Her research laboratory will also explore the new quantum properties that emerge when excitons and localized surface plasmon resonances become strongly coupled.
Ph.D., Physics, Laboratoire de Photonique et de Nanostructures (LPN-CNRS), France, 2010.
M.S., Physics, University Paris Sud - 11, France, 2007.
B.S., Physics, University Paris 7 - Denis Diderot, France, 2005.
Research Focus
  • Experimental study of light-matter interactions at the single-molecule level
  • Design and characterization of plasmonic nanostructures
  • Super-resolution microscopy
Select Works
  • E. Wertz, B. P. Isaacoff, J. E. Donehue, and J. S. Biteen, Single-Molecule Super-Resolution Microscopy Reveals How Light Couples to a Plasmonic Nanoantenna on the Nanometer Scale, Nano Lett. 15, 2662 (2015).
  • E. Wertz, L. Ferrier, T. C. H. Liew, D. D. Solnyshkov, D. Sanvitto, P. Senellart, I. Sagnes, A. Lemaître, A. V. Kavokin, G. Malpuech and J. Bloch, Propagation and amplification dynamics of 1D polariton condensates, Phys. Rev. Lett. 109, 216404 (2012).
  • E. Wertz, L. Ferrier, D. Solnyshkov, R. Johne, D. Sanvitto, A. Lemaître, I. Sagnes, R. Grousson , A. Kavokin, P. Senellart, G. Malpuech and J. Bloch, Spontaneous formation and optical manipulation of extended polariton condensates, Nature Phys. 6, 860 (2010).
  • E. Wertz, L. Ferrier, D. D. Solnyshkov, P. Senellart, D. Bajoni, A. Miard, A. Lemaître, G. Malpuech and J. Bloch, Spontaneous formation of a polariton condensate in a planar GaAs microcavity, Appl. Phys. Lett. 95, 051108 (2009).