Jene A. Golovchenko

Jene A. Golovchenko

  • Rumford Professor of Physics and Gordon McKay Professor of Applied Physics


Professor Golovchenko's research focuses on revealing and understanding the basic physics involved when various forms of radiation interact with atomic and condensed matter systems. He performs experiments where highly controlled electron, positron, atom, x-ray, ion and laser beams are used to reveal new phenomena connected with the radiation-matters system. Such experiments lead to the development of new probes to study matter and new techniques to modify and transform it into new forms.

More recently Professor Golovchenko has applied these and other methods to the biophysics of polymers like DNA. Students in Professor Golovchenko's group get a broad exposure to the most advanced experimental tools and methods as well as the opportunity to express their experimental and theoretical creativity in problems of importance in pure and applied science. Specific areas of research pursued include Bose condensation by laser cooling, de Broglie atom wave optics of ultra cold atoms, annihilation in flight of MeV positrons as a probe of atomic scale magnetic structure, electronic sequencing of DNA in atomic scale solid state nanopores, X-ray optics in curved space, atomic scale properties of semiconductor surfaces in ultra high vacuum environments using tunneling microscopy, ion channeling and molecular beam epitaxy.

Professor Golovchenko is engaged in a wide range of research projects spanning several disciplines of applied and basic physics. These include studies involving:

  • The assembly, modification, and characterization of matter on the nanoscale for electronic and optical devices
  • The development of molecular scale sensors capable of electronic detection and characterization of single atoms and molecules, including rapid single molecule DNA sequencing
  • The basic physical processes by which atoms, electrons, positrons, neutrons, ions, and photons interact with matter to improve our understanding of and ability to change the properties of materials, from macroscopic to atomic scales

In connection with Professor Golovchenko's research interests, several advanced experimental facilities have been developed at Harvard. These include:

  • A¬†laboratory where solid state nanopores are fabricated and ultrasensitive electronic detection techniques are developed
  • Electron microscope for ebeam and Ice Lithography
  • A tunneling microscope laboratory where processes on surfaces under ultrahigh vacuum conditions are studied on the atomic scale
  • A focused ion beam facility where 5 nanometer 50 kilovolt gallium ion beams are used to modify and fashion nanostructures
  • Facilities for molecular beam epitaxy
  • Facilities for the production of nanotubes and wires and graphene

Professor Golovchenko has had a broad research career, working in academia, at Harvard and Aarhus University in Denmark, in industry, at Bell Labs, in national laboratories at Brookhaven and Livermore and at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland. He is also a member of the Rowland Institute for Science, an interdisciplinary nonprofit basic research institute in Cambridge. These affiliations have helped his students obtain broad perspectives on research and opportunities for furthering their careers when they graduate from Harvard.

Contact Information

Office:228 Lyman
Office Phone:(617) 495-3905
Office Fax(617) 496-0189
Lab Location:165 Jefferson
Assistant:Jane C. Salant
Assistant Office:Cruft 210
Assistant Phone:(617) 496-8119
Research Mgr: Sarah Lefebvre

Primary Teaching Area