Andrea Fratalocchi, associate professor in the University’s Computer, Electrical and Mathematical Science and Engineering (CEMSE) division, was recently granted a Fellowship of the Institute of Physics (FInstP) by the Institute of Physics (IOP). Fratalocchi was awarded the IOP’s highest level of membership in recognition of his outstanding accomplishments in physics.

“I am really honored by this Fellowship. The IOP is a very prestigious institute, and their recognition of the importance of my results is a significant achievement for the research that I carry out,” Fratalocchi said.

The key to great scientific advance

After joining KAUST in 2011 from his role as a postdoctoral fellow at the Sapienza University of Rome, Italy, Fratalocchi set about pioneering a new research field in applied complexity. This novel form of research tries to understand complex physical systems (regulated by a large number of interacting degrees of freedom) and transform them into different technologies.

“This [research] is a completely new path that was not investigated beforehand. [Over] the past few years, I have demonstrated experimentally this idea into a series of generationally new systems for different purposes, [including] clean energy harvesting, bio-imaging, smart materials, artificial intelligent design and so on,” he explained.

“All the devices I have designed with this approach show world record values of efficiencies and are ready for large-scale integration and industrial applications. These results were made possible [through] using radically new concepts in the study and understanding of the physics of complex systems,” Fratalocchi continued.

The aforementioned complex systems are considered extremely challenging—to the point that almost no current technology is exploiting them for potential real-world applications.

“I like to think the main point of this research is to demonstrate that—through understanding the physics of complex systems—lies the key to performing a great leap in advance[ment] for the development of future technologies in many different fields,” Fratalocchi added.

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