Bernardi Research Group


Principal Investigator

Marco Bernardi

Marco Bernardi - CV

Marco obtained his Ph.D. in Materials Science from MIT, where he worked with Prof. Jeff Grossman on novel materials and physical processes for 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 electrons and excited states in materials, with applications to electronics, optoelectronics, energy and ultrafast science. Marco received the NSF CAREER Award in 2018, the AFOSR Young Investigator Award in 2017, the Psi-K Volker Heine Young Investigator Award for electronic structure calculations in 2015, and the Intel Ph.D. Fellowship from Intel in 2013, among other awards. His research has been featured in several magazines and media outlets, including Nature, Scientific American, Wired and Technology Review.

Email: bmarco at
Phone: (626) 395-2515
Address: Caltech, 1200 E California Blvd. MC 107-81, Pasadena CA, 91125


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

Shiyuan Gao

Shiyuan Gao

Shiyuan holds a B.S. in Physics from Peking University. He obtained his Ph.D. in Physics from Washington University in St. Louis in 2018, where he worked with Prof. Li Yang on excited state properties of low-dimensional materials. He joined our group in January 2019. His current research focuses on development and application of ab initio computational methods to advance our understanding of solid state defects related to quantum information applications.

Email: sgao42 at

Ivan Maliyov

Ivan Maliyov

Ivan received a BSc in Applied Physics from V. N. Karazin Kharkiv National University in Ukraine. He obtained his MSc degree in Nanosciences from École Polytechnique and Univérsité Paris-Saclay in France. With a double-diploma program, he has also received a MSc in Medical Physics from V. N. Karazin Kharkiv National University, Ukraine. He obtained his Ph.D. in Condensed Matter Physics from Univérsité Paris-Saclay, France in 2019 and joined our group in December 2019. His current research interests are on electron transport and dynamics in the presence of external fields, magnetotransport in complex materials, and time-dependent density functional theory.

Email: imaliyov 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 Materials 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

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

Xiao Tong

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

Hsiao-Yi Chen

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

Jinsoo Park

Jin-Soo Park

Jin-Soo received his BS degree in Electrical Engineering with a double major in Physics from Seoul National University. His undergraduate research focused on band gap engineering of BN-doped graphene using first-principles methods. His research also explored light-matter interactions in metallic nanostructures using time-dependent density functional perturbation theory. Jin-Soo entered the graduate program in Caltech Applied Physics in 2016 and joined our group in 2017. His current research interests include electron-phonon couplings in materials with spin-orbit interactions.

Email: jpark7 at

Benjamin K. Chang

Benjamin K. Chang

Benjamin received his B.S. in Interdisciplinary Sciences from National Tsing Hua University. Later, he obtained his M.S. in Physics from National Taiwan University under the supervision of Prof. Mei-Yin Chou. His master's thesis was focused on first-principles studies of high-performance thermoelectric materials. Before joining Caltech, he spent one year as a research assistant at the Institute of Atomic and Molecular Sciences at Academia Sinica where he continued his master's study. He then joined Caltech as a graduate student in Applied Physics in 2018. His current research interests are in the development and application of computational methods for electron-phonon coupling.

Email: bkchang at

Former group members


Luis Agapito (2015-2018): Synopsis, Inc

Raffaello Bianco (2018-2019): Postdoc, University of the Basque Country

Graduate Student

Vatsal Jhalani (2014-2019): Postdoc

Vsevolod Ivanov (2016): Graduate Student, UC Davis


Kyle Frohna (2016): Graduate Student, Cambridge