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Nathaniel P. Stern: Faculty Experts

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Nathaniel P. Stern

Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences

Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy
Co-Director of Applied Physics Program
Director of Undergraduate Studies, Physics and Astronomy


Areas of Focus

  • Nanoscience
  • Photonics
  • Quantum optics
  • Magnetism


  • Interfacing light and matter, such as nano-scale systems and molecules, to facilitate transport of quantum information
  • Engineering sources of quantum light
  • Understanding the interaction of light and matter at the quantum scale
  • Designing optical probes of magnetic materials


Stern's research focuses on the fundamental quantum interactions of photons with atoms, nano-scale materials and magnetism. His group’s current work emphasizes nanofabrication, photonics and low-dimensional materials, with significant transdisciplinary interactions across chemistry, materials science and astronomy. Stern's past research expertise is broad, spanning semiconductor spintronics, atomic physics, novel materials and quantum optics.

At Northwestern, he has received the Early Career Research Award from the U.S. Department of Energy and the Young Investigator Award from the Office of Naval Research, and he is a Fellow of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

Prior to moving to Northwestern University, Stern was a lifelong resident of Southern California. He was a Tolman Prize Postdoctoral Fellow at the California Institute of Technology, and he received his Ph.D. at the University of California, Santa Barbara as a Fellow of the Fannie and John Hertz Foundation. His work as an undergraduate at Harvey Mudd College, also in California, was honored with the LeRoy Apker Prize of the American Physical Society.