Bernardi Research Group


Principal Investigator

Marco Bernardi

Marco Bernardi - CV

Marco holds a B.S. from the University of Rome “La Sapienza”, and a M.S. in Materials Science from the University of Rome “Tor Vergata” in Italy. He obtained his Ph.D. in Materials Science from MIT, where he worked with Prof. Jeff Grossman on novel materials and physical processes in solar energy conversion. He was a postdoc in the Physics Department at UC Berkeley, where he worked with Prof. Steve Louie and Prof. Jeff Neaton on excited electrons in materials. His group at Caltech focuses on computing the dynamics of excited states in materials, with applications to ultrafast optical processes and solar energy conversion. Marco has received a number of awards, including the 2015 Psi-K Volker Heine Young Investigator Award for electronic structure calculations, the Intel Ph.D. Fellowship from Intel, and the Endeavour Research Fellowship from the Australian Government, among others. His research has been featured in a number of magazines, including Wired, Nature, Scientific American, and Technology Review.

Email: bmarco at
Phone: (626) 395-2515
Address: California Institute of Technology, 1200 E California Blvd. MC 107-81, Pasadena CA, 91125
Location: Steele Laboratories, Room 113


Luis Agapito

Luis Agapito

Luis obtained his BSc in Mechatronics from the Universidad Nacional de Ingeniería (UNI) in Peru and holds a PhD in Electrical Engineering from Texas A&M University. Before joining Caltech in 2015, he was a Visiting Scholar at the Center for Materials Genomics at Duke University. His research interests include the development of advanced theoretical and computational methods for the study of electronic materials and the relaxation dynamics of photoexcited electrons.

Email: agapito at

Luis Agapito

Jin-Jian Zhou

Jin-Jian holds a B.S. in Computer Science from Wuhan University in China. He obtained his Ph.D. in Condensed Matter Physics from Institute of Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences (IOP, CAS) in 2015. He worked at Beijing Institute of Technology (China) for several months, and then joined our group as a postdoctoral scholar in November 2015. His current research interests include the development of computational methods for the study of hot carrier relaxation and ab initio study of carrier dynamics in oxides with applications to photovoltaic and photocatalysis.

Email: jjzhou at


Vatsal Jhalani

Vatsal A. Jhalani

Vatsal received a BSc in Engineering Physics at UC Berkeley in 2013. His undergraduate research experience was on theory and simulation of x-ray free electron lasers (XFEL). Before grad school he worked at Lawrence Livermore National Lab and SLAC National Lab on the LCLS XFEL and at Spring-8 in Hyogo, Japan on the SACLA XFEL. He joined Caltech Applied Physics and our group in the fall of 2014. Vatsal is interested in theoretical condensed matter physics and ab initio studies of material properties. His current research as a Resnick fellow focuses on ab initio calculations of carrier dynamics in materials related to society’s energy challenges, such as solar cells and efficient lighting with LED’s.

Email: vjhalani at

I-Te (Louis) Lu

I-Te (Louis) Lu

I-Te holds a BS in Material Science from National Chiao Tung University (NCTU) in Taiwan. Fascinated by light-matter interaction and photonic materials, I-Te joined the Graduate Program for Science and Technology of Accelerator Light Source in NCTU (and NSRRC), where he obtained a MS degree in 2013. Before joining Caltech, he carried out research on fuel cell catalysts with Prof. Pu-Wei Wu, and served in the army in Taiwan. He started the graduate program in Materials Science at Caltech in 2014. His research interests include defects in materials, ultrafast phenomena, energy transfer, and density functional theory.

Email: ilu at

Austin Liu

Austin Liu

Austin received a BSc in Engineering Physics at Cornell University. His undergraduate research experience was on Monte Carlo simulations in covalent organic frameworks. He joined Caltech Applied Physics in 2015 and our group in the spring of 2016. Austin is broadly interested in computational methods that improve our understanding of condensed matter physics. His current research focuses on improved methods to compute Green's functions in ab initio calculations.

Email: yliu2 at

Megan Schill

Megan Schill

Megan obtained a BS in Chemistry from UC Merced in 2015. Her undergraduate research in protein biochemistry explored the structural and functional attributes of anti-inflammatory proteins and their transport across the human blood-brain barrier, as well as the construction of new HIV entry inhibitors. She also dabbled in applied math research, modeling prion transmission in budding yeast. She entered the Caltech Materials Science graduate program in 2015 and joined our group in 2016. Her current research examines methods used in density functional theory and avenues for their improvement.

Email: mschill at

Nien-En Lee

Nien-En Lee

Nien-En received both his BSE degree in Electrical Engineering and MS degree in Physics at National Taiwan University. His Master's thesis research was on novel parity-violating hydrodynamic transport coefficients in 2+1 dimensions from holographic principle. Besides, he is also very interested in understanding the phenomena in condensed matter system from first principle calculation. Nien-En entered the physics department at Caltech in 2014. His current research interests are on the electron-phonon couplings and the polaronic effect on the carriers mobility.

Email: nlee at

Nien-En Lee

Xiao Tong

Xiao obtained a BSc in Physics at South University of Science and Technology of China (SUSTC). Her undergraduate research focused on transport properties of thermoelectric materials. She joined the Caltech Materials Science graduate program in 2015 and entered our group in 2017. She has broad interests in ab initio studies of electron and excited state dynamics, and condensed matter physics in general.

Email: xtong at

Nien-En Lee

Hsiao-Yi Chen

Hsiao-Yi received his BS degree in Physics from National Taiwan University. His undergraduate research focused on Supersymmetry Gauge Theory, which concerns the relations among SUSY thoeries in different dimensions. He also has a few years of experience in condensed matter theory research, especially on string-net description of topological nontrivial phases and Symmetry Protected Topological (SPT) phases. Hsiao-Yi is a Caltech-Taiwan Ministry of Education Scholarship recipient and entered the Physics department at Caltech in 2014. His current research interests include excitons, trions, and their physical properties and dynamics within the first-principles approach.

Email: hchen3 at

Former group members

Kyle Frohna (Undergraduate SURF student, summer 2016)

Vsevolod Ivanov (Graduate student, 2016)