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Meet an employee at IFA

Monthly contribution from Rosana Martinez Turtos, Assistant Professor

[Translate to English:] Foto: Rosana Martinez Turtos
[Translate to English:] Foto: Rosana Martinez Turtos

Briefly explain your path to IFA/AU. Where have you been before?

"I was born in Cuba, where I lived my first 25 years. I graduated from my Masters in Nuclear physics in 2011 and started my PhD studies at the Milano-Bicocca University in 2013. In the meantime, I had the opportunity of being a summer student at CERN in 2012, the very same summer that the Higgs boson was announced. In 2017, I finished my PhD education with a thesis about prompt photon emission in dielectrics and excitonic/ultrafast luminescence phenomena in semiconductors and had a first post-doc position as a fellow at CERN. Two years later, my husband and I decided to move back to Denmark with the idea of finding-making a home. I remember I looked around for opportunities and Peter Balling had a post-doc position that was really perfect. It included luminescence phenomena and photon physics - which I love, a medical application - which give meaning to what I do, and it was also a completely new idea, so I applied for it and that is how I came to IFA three years ago".

What factors influenced your choice of career? 

"If I look back, my mom goodnight stories taken out of an encyclopedia, probably have led to my career choice. I remember mathematics to be my comfort zone when I was in grundskole, but physics had something I was not very good at and that made it very attractive. I was not very good at making good approximations when trying to describe a process or deducting by myself what drove a particular phenomenon. I am happy that I chose physics, I use it many times, also in my personal life for prioritizing or for finding what really matters".

Mention three things that your appreciate about your work

"The first thing I am happy about is to be able to do work here. Danes have what I believe is the right mindset to do research, so it has been easy to collaborate and make things happen, rational thinking goes a long way here. The daily working climate in the group is also very pleasant and I appreciate the lunch time/culture where professors and students seat together at the same table.

Just to put an example, I joint Peter’s Balling and Brian Julsgaard group when I was 4 months pregnant. I basically worked 4 months and went on maternity leave for about a year and at the beginning I was somehow nervous about how things were going to work out. One and a half years later, I am co-supervising my first PhD student together with Brian in the frame of my own research project and Peter has helped me setup a new lab and lent me some fine equipment.

I am very happy about my experience here, I have always felt welcome, and I think that is very valuable".

Tell us about your research. What is the most exciting research result you have achieved? The latest?

"During my PhD, I was looking for some photon emission coming from what is called an excitonic molecule or a biexciton. This emission has been reported to be stable at room temperature in some 2D materials and we wanted to use it as an ultrafast time-tagger for high-energy gamma photon detection with the goal of bringing down time resolution to the tenths of picoseconds. This is a bit challenging cause the energy of a gamma cannot be ‘contained’ in nanometers thick materials, but we found a way around it and the idea has opened some roads for fast timing research.

Recently, we have published a paper proving that 3D dose imaging is possible by trapping a significant small number of electrons in the crystalline lattice of a wide-band gap dielectric. You can find it here https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-022-12255-9."

Where is your favorite spot at IFA?

"I am building my own lab in the basement, which is now called Exciton-lab. I have gotten help from many people at IFA and that gives me a nice feeling when I enter there".

What do you do in your spare time? 

"Well, my son is 2,7 years and spare time is usually spent in family time. Right now we are learning to ride a bike with pedals and that is real fun".