Prineha Narang

Prineha Narang

  • Assistant Professor of Computational Materials Science (Starting 7/1/17)


Technologies of the future, including high-performance exascale computing, Internet-of-Things, and integrated quantum information processing are limited by conventional device concepts and their constituent materials. The limits of electronic, optical and thermal performance of these materials are determined by their atomic-scale dynamics. In order to surpass conventional, bulk properties of materials, an accurate description of excited-state phenomena is essential. Quantum-engineered materials could provide multiple functionalities, using atom-by-atom engineering, in an ultra-compact, 3D monolithically integrated architecture enabling highly energy efficient devices. This is simultaneously relevant in consumer electronics and next-generation space-systems and satellites. Professor Narang’s research interests lie in exploring and expanding the understanding of excited state and non-equilibrium phenomena to develop novel quantum engineered materials and devices with applications in sensing and photodetection, energy conversion, as well as quantum information processing. Our research group, the Excited-state and Integrated Quantum Materials (ESIM) group, portfolio encompasses the following key directions:

Excited-state nanophotonics and quantum plasmonics:

Excited-state nanophotonics presents a critical challenge and opportunity as it involves competing degrees of freedom and constraints with coupled electrons, photons, and atomic structures. Properties that emerge from correlations between these atomic, electronic and photonic phenomena determine the intermediate length and time scales that can be exploited in many applications. In order to design functional mesoscale materials, there is a need for advanced understanding and control over the interactions among discrete atomic-nanoscale ingredients in an extended structure. The Narang group is building a research effort that, through a combination of applying existing theory methods as well as developing novel methods that implement non-equilibrium theories, can tackle this challenge.

Photosynthesis-inspired circuits and quantum devices:

A major challenge and opportunity for energy nanotechnologies is to rationally construct nanoscale devices from the bottom up that can mimic natural light-harvesting assemblies. Photosynthetic light-harvesting complexes (LHCs) feature arrays of strongly-coupled pigments that can direct energy transfer to their reaction center with near-unit quantum efficiency. Yet current technologies do not take advantage of the unique and extremely efficient energy transfer mechanism, which involves out-of-equilibrium, environment-coupled excitonic dynamics. Natural energy transfer in photosynthesis thus points to new physics capable of motivating the next generation of circuits, energy conversion devices and perhaps a path to robust quantum devices. The Narang research group is writing novel tools to describe interactions between light harvesting complexes and the environment in the ultrafast (femtosecond) to fast (nanosecond) regime. We are exploring the fundamental optical physics of cavities strongly coupled to the elaborate topology of molecules.

Light-matter interactions in quantum materials:

Quantum materials offer unparalleled potential for atomic-scale photonic and optoelectronic devices. The Narang group is studying quantum materials to elucidate the fundamental physics of light-matter interactions in these systems.

Open positions: Students in my research group will gain expertise in developing and using first principles theory, calculation and quantum simulation methods. If you seek interdisciplinary projects across materials science, applied physics and computational science, please contact me.

Contact Information

Office:315 Pierce Hall

Positions & Employment

Harvard University, John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Assistant Professor of Computational Materials Science, July 2017-

Harvard University, Ziff Environmental Fellow, Harvard University Center for the Environment, August 2016-July 2017

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Research Scholar in Condensed Matter Theory, February 2016-July 2017

California Institute of Technology, Postdoctoral Scholar in Applied Physics, June 2015-January 2016

Other Experience & Professional Membership

NG NEXT - Theory and Computation Advisor,    Oct 2015 | To Date

IBM T. J. Watson Research Center, Researcher,  Mar 2010 | June 2010 ... Sept 2010 | July 2011

Paul Scherrer Institute,  SwissFEL Beam Dynamics Group, June 2010 | Sept 2010


MIT Rising Star in Physics, MIT, 2016

Harvard Environmental Fellow, Harvard University, 2016-2018

Royal Society Newton Fellow, Royal Society, 2016

DARPA Rising Star, DARPA, 2015

Dow Sustainability Innovation Student Challenge Award Runner-up, The Dow Chemical Company - Caltech, 2014

NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, National Science Foundation, 2011-2015

NSF IGERT Fellowship, Awarded National Science Foundation, 2011

Resnick-Goldhirsh Fellowship Resnick Sustainability, Institute at Caltech, 2011-2012

Outstanding Student of the Year, in MSE Dept. of MSE, 2010

NSF International Research Experiences for Students (IRES), National Science Foundation, 2009

RISE Scholarship, Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst, 2009

Drexel University Dean's Scholarship, Drexel University, College of Engineering 2007