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20022022

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Personal profile

Research interests

At Skoltech

I joined Skoltech as a Leading Research Scientist in 2017 to work on the project “Integration and control of heat and power systems with variable loads” funded by the Next Generation SkT-MIT programme. I was promoted to a faculty position in 2018.

I work on a variety of scientific projects: I assumed the role of Principal Investigator of our SkT-MIT Next Gen project (which ended in December 2019) on the Skoltech side, where we focused our efforts on indoor microclimate control both on experimental and theoretical levels; I also happily take a very active part in various projects pertaining to other fields of science such as nonequilibrium thermodynamics, quantum physics, physical chemistry and biophysics. I am a co-Chair of the Engineering Systems PhD Program Committee, in charge of the Energy Systems PhD program, and member of the Skoltech Educational Committee. At Skoltech, I developed two graduate courses: Energy systems physics and engineering,  and Nonequilibrium processes in energy conversion, which I teach annually . I currently supervise three PhD theses and several 1st-year and 2nd-year Master level projects.

As of now , I am principal and key co-author of 60+ research publications on a wide range of topics in the physical sciences (see publications below). Some of my recent works were highlighted by journals and other outlets such as the Europhysics News, EurekAlert! and Phys.org.

Prior to Skoltech

Education. My postgraduate education is in theoretical physics, with a Master’s degree in statistical physics (Université de Cergy-Pontoise, France, 1997) and a PhD in physics (Heriot-Watt University, UK, 2002), focused on the modeling of ultrafast pump-and-probe experiments with spin-selective excitation in semiconductor quantum wells, and on two-dimensional scattering theory to study photon emission via exciton recombination.

Experience in research. I have a research experience of over fifteen years at postdoctoral level in four countries, including the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, and Russia. My works fall within the broad category of theory and numerical modeling of condensed matter and dilute systems, mostly addressing problems pertaining to energy conversion physics, coupled transport theory, scattering theory of excitons and of ultra-cold atoms, and light-matter interactions. In the recent years, I developed a strong interest for energy-related problems and theories of irreversible thermodynamics, with a particular focus on thermoelectric systems. My experience in research thus covers different fields of theoretical physics that have a close relation to experimental activities. Many of my works were performed as part of international collaborations with theoreticians and experimentalists, and more recently with industrial partners, including EDF, a major French electric utility company.

Teaching and supervision. I have a significant experience of teaching and supervision in higher education systems, primarily as a first-year tutor at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, during my PhD studies, and as a temporary lecturer at the University of Caen, France (2004-2006) covering a wide range of topics of the physics curriculum essentially at undergraduate level. I also taught and personally supervised students at undergraduate and postgraduate levels while I was employed as a senior research associate (in 2007 and in 2011-2014). Moreover, I was actively involved in the daily supervision of one PhD student (2011-2013) and one junior postdoctoral researcher (2012-2013).

Additional information

Referee. I am also an active referee for several major international peer-reviewed physics journals, including Nature Energy, Physical Review Letters, Energy Conversion and Management, Physical Review A, B, E, Research, Applied Physics Letters, and more. I served as a referee for the French National Research Agency for the Physics Committee to evaluate the progress of the funded projects of the 2009 programme “Theoretical Spectroscopy and Radiation-Matter Interactions”, and for the Sustainable Electricity Production and Management program of 2012.

Further training. To complement my education and gain valuable and useful transferable new professional skills, I undertook a one-year training and gained a first-class postgraduate Master’s of Art (Université de Caen, France, 2016) to qualify as a European project manager.

Academic Reputation and Societal Impact

As an Assitant Professor appointed at the Skoltech Center for Energy Science and Technology, I endeavor to develop activities aligned with the vision of the CEST and of direct relevance to the energy sector in Russia and possibly beyond. This entailed a focus on topics new to me, notably related to engineering. Since my appointment of a faculty position in Spring 2018, I have been steadily building a network in Russia and extending my network abroad.

Regional and national contexts, notably on microclimate control, and hence the need to emerge and increase my visibility in communities outside my traditional fields. In my young group we have a first success with the publication of one article reporting our work in Energy Conversion and Management (Q1 Scopus, CiteScore=7.87) and the Polygon laboratory (room #403, TPOC 3), which we designed and built from scratch (with Alexander Ryzhov). The work achieved (until decommissioning of te facility in August 2019 because of reallocation of the room for other purposes) served as a platform from which we meant to develop solutions for, e.g., data centres air conditioning systems. Before my promotion I was part of discussions with Sberbank for this purpose.

One of my PhD students, Ilia Luchnikov and I, in addition to our work on the development of AI-based approach to energy systems dynamics prediction and control, share an interest in quantum physics. In 2019, in collaboration with Prof. Sergey Filippov at MIPT, we established a collaboration that led to a first joint publication “Simulation complexity of open quantum dynamics: connection with tensor networks” in the Physical Review Letters (Nature-indexed journal) and a subsequent joint paper “Variational autoencoder reconstruction of complex many-body physics” published as a “feature paper” in Entropy.

My activies in thermal science and engineering also have been recognized locally, in the sense that I was asked by the Skolkovo Foundation who asked to provide my assessement and recommendation for the industry project funding application: “Thermosiphon systems for freecooling” they received.

National and international contexts I supervised the doctoral work of Dmitry Smirnov who is one of the founders of the Russian company Thermal Motors LLC. With Dmitry Smirnov, we published one research article “Experimental study of a high-tolerance piston-cylinder pair in the alpha Ross-yoke Stirling refrigerator” in the International Journal of Refrigeration (Q1 Scopus, CiteScore=3.83), which the three referees declared as of interest for the community. I support Dmitry Smirnov in the development of commercially-oriented ideas and their implementation for a productive use of the in-house Stirling refrigerator. This research activity triggered significant interest abroad: 1. Together with Dr. Carolina Costa at Northumbria University, UK, we submitted a joint proposal for a Royal Society “international exchanges” grant to start a formal collaboration; 2. We also established a fruitful contact with an Austrian research group at the Vienna University of Technology, Austria, specialized in tribology and led by Prof. Carsten Gachot, with whom we will submit a joint research proposal in the frame of the joint Austrian FWF and Russian RFBR call for projects probably in March 2020 – the details of the proposal have been discussed since December 2019 and it is now being written up.

In 2018-2019, we established a new solid, yet informal collaboration, with Prof. Martin Dressel and his team, University of Stuttgart, Germany, and Dr. Alexei Kiselev, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany. We managed to write up to research papers: “Anomalously high proton conduction of interfacial water” and “Excess protons revealed in the infrared spectrum of liquid water” in one year in this new collaboration frame. My Energy Systems MSc-2 student, Roman Doronin spent 2 months at KIT under the supervision of Dr. Kiselev to perform experiments on charged droplets of water for his Master thesis. The obtained results look sufficient for publication.

In the year 2019, I also started a new fruitful collaboration with the team of Dr. Valentina Shevtsova at the Microgravity Research Center of the Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium. I sent my Energy Systems MSc-2 student Valeriy Shevchenko for a two-month stay in Dr. Shevtsova’s team where he assembled a Mach-Zender interferometer to study liquid bridges in ultra-thin vapor chambers. This study of liquid bridges by interferometric methods appears to be the first of its kind. We have now sufficient material for joint publications.

While I am building up momentum in my new activities, I maintain contacts with my collaborators’ network on the international level essentially with Prof. Christophe Goupil, Université Paris Diderot France, Prof. Philippe Lecoeur Université Paris Saclay, France, and Prof. Giuliano Benenti, University of Insubria, Italy, for activities related to nonequilibrium thermodynamics and thermoelectricty. My Energy Systems MSc-2 student Ilya Khomchenko spent 2 months in 2019 in the group of Prof. Benenti to develop my theoretical ideas on the thermodynamic properties of electron gases in mesoscopic systems and how they relate to thermoelectric transport.

I have also established contact with Prof. Adam Willard, Chemistry department at MIT, with whom we discuss the content of a joint proposal on the electric properties and molecular structure of water near interfaces, in the frame of the 3rd Skoltech-MIT NGP call.

Before joining Skoltech, between the years 2011 and 2015, my contributions to fields of thermoelectricity and finite-time thermodynamics were positively noticed by the communities; I was invited to write book chapters and an article by guest editors I did not know personally; I devlopped a project as an Invited Professor at the Russian Quantum Center. I also served on two occasions as an Expert referee for the French National Research agency to select projects as part of the 2012 “Sustainable Electricity Production and Management” program, and as part of the Physics Committee to review the progress of funded projects in the frame of the “Theoretical Spectroscopy and Radiation-Matter Interactions” programme, as I was previously very active in the field of radiation-matter interactions. I also serve as an active Referee for leading international physics and engineering journals, such as Nature Energy, the Physical Review Letters, Physical Review A, B, E; Applied Physics Letters; Energy Conversion and Management; etc.

As for a quantitative measure of academic reputation, I can state that my RG (ResearchGate) score is 34.04, which is higher that of 92.5% of the 15 millions ResearchGate members.

Entrepreneurship and Innovation activities

Supervision of Dmitry Smirnov’s PhD work in relation to the activities in his company Thermal Motors.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action

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