Yuen Zhou, Joel
Molecular photonics: theory

Contact Information

Office: Urey Hall 3254
Phone: 858-534-5399
Email: jyuenzhou@ucsd.edu
Web: yuenzhougroup.ucsd.edu/
Group: View group members
2012 Ph.D., Chemical Physics, Harvard University
2007 B.Sc., Chemistry, Mathematics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Research Interests
We are interested in an eclectic mix of science at the interface of theoretical chemistry, condensed matter theory, materials science, and nanophotonics. We carry out research using and developing tools in quantum, classical, and statistical mechanics, solid state physics, and electromagnetism. An overriding theme in our recent research is "molecular photonics," namely, the interaction of light with molecular matter, both in the weak and strong coupling regimes.

In the weak-coupling regime, we study natural light harvesting under incoherent illumination (such as sunlight), as well as linear and coherent nonlinear spectroscopies. Emphasis on these topics vary throughout the years. Recently, we have worked on a theory which addresses an interesting scenario where the textbook semiclassical light-matter interaction breaks down, and a quantum-field theoretical description of ("classical" laser) light is required to give the correct qualitative and quantitative answer.

In the strong-coupling regime, we are interested in polaritons, light-matter hybrid excitations that can induce exotic charge and energy transport (see our recent work on topological phases) as well as new ways to control chemical reactivity.

A recurring theme of our work is the development of new concepts which can guide experimental work towards the discovery and interpretation of new chemical and materials phenomena. We like to work with paper and pencil (analytical theory), but also design our computational tools tailored to address the conceptual question of interest.
Primary Research Area
Physical/Analytical Chemistry
Interdisciplinary interests
Computational and Theoretical

Outreach Activities
Co-organized the First SoCal TheoChem Symposium at UCSD in 2016; faculty host in Research Scholars program; participant in Clubes de Ciencia, Ensenada 2015.

I identify both as Hispanic and Asian, having grown up in Mexico City under a Chinese household. Given this, I believe I have a somehow unique perspective on issues concerning racial and socioeconomic diversity. I am fully committed to working with students and colleagues to further a more inclusive, diverse, and tolerant environment in the Physical Sciences and across campus.

Selected Publications