Dr. Andrea Konečná

I am currently a Junior Researcher at CEITEC (Central European Institute of Technology) at Brno University of Technology (Czech Republic). I obtained my PhD from the University of the Basque Country under the supervision of Javier Aizpurua and Rainer Hillenbrand (San Sebastián, Spain) in 2019 and then spent two years as a post-doctoral researcher in Nanophotonics Theory Group led by Prof. Javier García de Abajo at ICFO (Barcelona, Spain).

My research is at the interface of nanophotonics (describing properties and applications of light at the nanoscale) and state-of-the-art electron microscopy and spectroscopy. In particular, I have been dealing with theoretical description of the interaction of fast electron beams with nanostructured matter within the following topics:

  • Probing optical excitations (phonons and vibrations, plasmons and excitons) by electron energy-loss spectroscopy (EELS) in scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM). I have been modelling and interpreting various STEM-EELS experiments that involved understanding hyperbolic phonon polaritons in thin films of hexagonal boron nitride, plasmons in metallic nanoparticles, low-energy nanoparticle plasmons in unconventional plasmonic materials such as MXenes or ITO.
  • Shaping electron beams via interaction with optical fields. We suggested versatile and fast setups using structured light beams whose phase and intensity profile can be imprinted on electron beams. Such optical phase plates for electrons could be implemented in future electron microscopes.
  • Use of shaped electron beams in probing symmetries of excitations in matter and for low-dose imaging.
  • Thermal effects in EELS, spatial dependence of thermally-driven phase transitions.

I combine analytical and numerical methods (boudary- and finite-element methods) to describe electromagnetic fields emerging in the interaction of fast electrons and arbitrarily shaped nanostructures. We have also successfully used ab initio input in several calculations.

In my free time, I enjoy cycling (mountain or gravel bike), running (half-marathon best 1h44min), reading (mostly modern fiction) and listening to music (from classical to modern alternative; check my favourite band EELS). I also love to disconnect completely on shorter or even longer hikes in nature. You can find some of the pictures captured during my hiking or work trips here.


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Milan Kundera, Nesnesitelná lehkost bytí