Nicholas Rivera

Summary of Research

The broad theme of my research in the Soljacic group is "unconventional" light-matter interactions. In other words: realizing ways for matter to emit light in ways which is conventionally considered too slow to be accessible (i.e., forbidden). Recent advances in nanophotonics point to ways to overcome all of the fundamental limitations of light-matter interactions, even in atomically small systems. Intuitively, this happens by confining light on the scale of atomic orbitals. This allows for realization of a very broad set of emission processes.

My work centers on developing systematically a quantum theory of these unconventional light matter interactions and exploring the consequences of realizing these interactions for photonics, atomic physics, chemical physics, and the countless other fields which use light-matter interactions on a regular basis.


22. Paulo Andre-Diaz Goncalves, Thomas Christensen, Nicholas Rivera, Antti Pekka-Jauho, N. Asger Mortensen, and Marin Soljacic. Plasmon-emitter interactions at the nanoscale. Nature Communications. (2020).

21. Jamison Sloan, Nicholas Rivera, Ido Kaminer, John D. Joannopoulos, and Marin Soljacic. Controlling spins with surface magnon polaritons. Physical Review B. (2019).

20. Nicholas Rivera, Liang Jie Wong, John D. Joannopoulos, Marin Soljacic, and Ido Kaminer. Light generation based on nanophotonic Casimir forces. Nature Physics. (2019).

19. Rumen Dangovski, Nicholas Rivera, Marin Soljacic, and Ido Kaminer. Shaping long-lived electron wavepackets for customizable optical spectra. Optica (2019).

18. Siyuan Dai, Wenjing Fang, Nicholas Rivera, Yijing Stehle, Bor-yuan Jiang, Roland Yingjie Tay, Chris Ciccarino, Qiong Ma, Daniel Rodan-Legrain, Pablo Jarillo-Herrero, Edwin Hang Tong Teo, Michael Fogler, Prineha Narang, Jing Kong, and Dmitri Basov. Phonon-polaritons in monolayers of hexagonal boron nitride. Advanced Materials (2019).

17. Nicholas Rivera, Johannes Flick, and Prineha Narang. Variational theory of non-relativistic quantum electrodynamics. Physical Review Letters (2019).

16. Nicholas Rivera, Thomas Christensen, and Prineha Narang. Phonon polaritonics in two-dimensional materials. Nano letters (2019).

15. Nicholas Rivera, Liang Jie Wong, Marin Soljacic, and Ido Kaminer. Ultrafast Multiharmonic Plasmon Generation by Optically Dressed Electrons. Physical review letters 122.5 (2019): 053901.

14. Charles Roques-Carmes, Nicholas Rivera, John D. Joannopoulos,
Marin Soljacic, and Ido Kaminer. Nonperturbative Quantum Electrodynamics in the Cherenkov Effect. Physical Review X 8.4 (2018): 041013.

13. Johannes Flick, Nicholas Rivera, and Prineha Narang. Strong light-matter coupling in quantum chemistry and quantum photonics. Nanophotonics 7.9 (2018): 1479-1501.

12. Gilles Rosolen, Liang Jie Wong, Nicholas Rivera, Bjorn Maes,
Marin Soljacic, and Ido Kaminer. Metasurface-based multi-harmonic free-electron light source. Light: Science & Applications 7.1 (2018): 64.

11. Francisco Machado*, Nicholas Rivera*, Hrvoje Buljan, Marin
Soljacic, and Ido Kaminer. Shaping polaritons to reshape selection rules. ACS Photonics 5.8 (2018): 3064-3072.

10. Yaniv Kurman, Nicholas Rivera, Thomas Christensen, Shai Tsesses, Meir Orenstein, John D. Joannopoulos, Marin Soljacic , and Ido Kaminer. Control of semiconductor emitter frequency by increasing polariton momenta. Nature Photonics 12.7 (2018): 423.

9. Josue Lopez, Antonio Ambrosio, Siyuan Dai, Chuong Huynh, David C. Bell, Xiao Lin, Nicholas Rivera, Shengxi Huang, Qiong Ma, Soeren Eyhusen, Ido Kaminer, Kenji Watanabe, Takashi Taniguchi, Jing Kong, Dmitri N. Basov, Pablo Jarillo-Herrero, and Marin Soljacic Large Photothermal Effect in Sub 40 nm hBN Nanostructures Patterned Via High Resolution Ion Beam. Small 14.22 (2018): 1800072.

8. Jamison Sloan, Nicholas Rivera, Marin Soljacic, and Ido Kaminer. Tunable UV-emitters through graphene plasmonics. Nano letters 18.1 (2017): 308-313.

7. Nicholas Rivera, Gilles Rosolen, John D. Joannopoulos, Ido Kaminer, and Marin Soljacic. Making two-photon processes dominate one-photon processes using mid-IR phonon polaritons. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 114.52 (2017): 13607-13612.

6. Georgia T. Papadakis, Prineha Narang, Ravishankar Sundararaman, Nicholas Rivera, Hrvoje Buljan, Nader Engheta, and Marin Soljacic. Ultralight angstrom-scale optimal optical reflectors. ACS Photonics 5.2 (2017): 384-389.

5. Cyuan-Han Chang, Nicholas Rivera, John D. Joannopoulos, Marin
Soljacic, and Ido Kaminer. Constructing Designer Atoms via Resonant Graphene-Induced Lamb Shifts. ACS Photonics 4.12 (2017): 3098-3105.

4. Xiao Lin, Yi Yang, Nicholas Rivera, Josue Lopez, Yichen Shen, Ido Kaminer, Hongsheng Chen, Baile Zhang, John D. Joannopoulos, and Marin Soljacic All-angle negative refraction of highly squeezed plasmon and phonon polaritons in graphene-boron nitride heterostructures. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 114.26 (2017): 6717-6721.

3. Xiao Lin, Nicholas Rivera, Josue Lopez, Ido Kaminer, Hongsheng Chen, and Marin Soljacic. Tailoring the energy distribution and loss of 2D plasmons. New Journal of Physics 18.10 (2016): 105007.

2. Nicholas Rivera, Chia Wei Hsu, Bo Zhen, Hrvoje Buljan, John D. Joannopoulos, and Marin Soljacic. Controlling directionality and dimensionality of radiation by perturbing separable bound states in the continuum. Scientific reports 6 (2016): 33394.

1. Nicholas Rivera*, Ido Kaminer*, Bo Zhen, John D. Joannopoulos, and Marin Soljacic. Shrinking light to allow forbidden transitions on the atomic scale. Science 353.6296 (2016): 263-269.


Awards and Honors
8. LeRoy Apker Award (APS), Oct 2016

7. Joel Matthew Orloff Award for Research (MIT), May 2016

6. Joel Matthew Orloff Award for Service (MIT), May 2016

5. Order of the Lepton Award (MIT), May 2016

4. DOE Computational Science Fellowship, Apr 2016

3. NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, Mar 2016

2. MIT School of Science Fellowship (3 years), Feb 2016

1. National Collegiate Research Conference, Best Poster in Physics, Jan 2015

Invited Talks / Special Contributed Talks
8. Graphene-MTL 2D Materials Conference. MIT. Nov 2018.

7. Workshop on Scanning Probe Microscopy of 2D Materials. Harvard. October 2018.

6. Seminar at Center for Nanoscale Materials. Argonne National Laboratory. Aug 2018.

5. Gordon Research Seminar in Plasmonics and Nanophotonics. [Only 20% of submitted abstracts accepted]. Newry, Maine. Jul 2018.

4. ITAMP Theoretical Atomic and Molecular Physics Seminar. Harvard University. Apr 2018.

3. Special Optics Seminar. Technion Israel Institute of Technology. Mar 2018.

2. Graphene-MTL 2D Materials Conference. MIT. Oct 2017.

1. APS March Meeting, LeRoy Apker Award talk. Mar 2017.