Prineha Narang

Prineha Narang


  • CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholar 2018
  • Bio-inspired Solar Energy


  • Harvard University
John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences


  • United States


PhD (Applied Physics), California Institute of Technology
MS (Applied Physics), California Institute of Technology


Photonic processes underpin our world’s energy and information infrastructure — from the molecular-scale transport of energy that accompanies photosynthesis to the transcontinental transmission of optical data that enables the internet.

For each of these processes, the efficiency of photon absorption and emission is dictated by microscopic interplay at the nanoscale. Understanding these processes in materials is of both fundamental and practical importance, yet these problems pose unique challenges. The simultaneous contribution of processes that occur across time and length-scales make direct computational approaches and comparisons with experiments challenging. To enable such studies, Prineha Narang’s group is inherently interdisciplinary, at the intersection of computational physics, chemistry, and quantum photonics.

In the context of CIFAR’s Bio-inspired Solar Energy program, her work, at the interface of chemistry and cavity quantum electrodynamics (QED) aims to transform the field of catalysis by using the quantum photonic interactions between light and molecules to drive catalysis.  Narang seeks to answer a fundamental and game-changing question:  Is it possible to control and monitor energy transfer pathways, and eventually the energy landscape of a chemical reaction via (ultra)strong light-matter coupling? If so, it would be a dramatic departure from the conventional ways to photonically control chemistry, aligned with the goals of CIFAR’s Program on Bio-inspired Solar Energy. This understanding would motivate rational control of photonic energy transfer at the molecular scale using spatially programmable nanoscale materials. While this research is theoretical and computational, if successful, it would have a profound impact on classical and quantum technologies of the future.


MIT Technology Review Young Innovator Under 35, 2018
World Economic Forum Young Scientist, 2018
Forbes 30 Under 30 in Science for ‘Atom-by-atom Quantum Engineering’, 2017

Relevant Publications

Sundararaman, R., P. Narang, A. S. Jermyn, W. A. Goddard III, and H. A. Atwater. "Theoretical predictions for hot-carrier generation from surface plasmon decay." Nature Communications 5, 12 (2014).

Narang, P., R. Sundararaman, and H. A. Atwater. "Plasmonic hot carrier dynamics in solid-state and chemical systems for energy conversion." Nanophotonics 5, 96 (2016).

Brown, A.M., R. Sundararaman, P. Narang, A. M. Schwartzberg, W. A. Goddard III, and H. A. Atwater. "Experimental and ab initio ultrafast carrier dynamics in plasmonic nanoparticles." Physical Review Letters 118(8), 087401 (2017).

Narang, P., L. Zhao, S. Claybrook, and R. Sundararaman. "Effects of Interlayer Coupling on Hot Carrier Dynamics in Graphene-derived van derWaals Heterostructures." Advanced Optical Materials (2017).

Mertens, J., M.E. Kleemann, R. Chikkaraddy, P. Narang, and J. J Baumberg. "How Light Is Emitted by Plasmonic Metals." Nano Letters 17, 4 (2017): 2568–2574.