Ann-Katrin U. Michel, PhD

Lecturer & Postdoctoral Researcher at ETH Zurich

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Hi, I’m Ann-Katrin

I'm a postdoctoral researcher at the Optical Materials Engineering Laboratory with Prof. David J. Norris at ETH Zurich. Since autumn semester 2018, I have a temporary teaching assignment at the Department of Mechanical and Process Engineering at ETH.


My core expertise lies in materials science and solid state physics, and I have been fortunate to collaborate with chemists and electrical engineers. These interactions have shaped my perspective as a scientist. I draw upon these experiences in approaching scientific challenges.

Active optics

Applying tunable optical properties of phase-change materials

During my Master's program at RWTH Aachen University, I learned about phase-change materials and since then, I'm passionate about this topic. I enjoy studying their fundamental properties, as well as their application. While phase-change materials are well-established in optical and electronic data storage devices, recent research efforts are devoted to the development of phase-change material based platforms for active photonics and brain-inspired computing.

One of my current research interest lies in spatially confined phase-change materials, since these do not only allow for size-dependent tuning of their properties (e.g. refractive index), but also can give an insight into the nature of their chemical bonding. 

Communicating science

Discussing my research with different audiences

I started as a teaching assistant during my Bachelor's at RWTH Aachen to finance university. From that time on, I continued working as TA at different labs for different courses. In enjoyed sharing my knowledge and experience with the students - especially discussing scientific questions with them. My passion for teaching never stopped since then. Continuing this journey is one of my greatest motivations to become an academic.

I love presenting our most recent findings at conferences. It is great to get feedback and exchange ideas. Questions after a talk or discussions in front of a poster allow us to improve our work and its communication to different audiences.

So please stop by next time we meet at a conference.

Let's meet soon.


© 2020 by Ann-Katrin U. Michel.