Eric Y. Ma

Office: 347 Birge Hall
Ma Lab

Job title: 
Assistant Professor

Eric Y. Ma received his B.S. in Physics from Peking University in 2010 and his Ph.D. in Applied Physics from Stanford University in 2016. He stayed at Stanford as a joint postdoctoral scholar in Applied Physics and Electrical Engineering. He was also briefly Senior Scientist at Apple. In July 2021 Dr. Ma joined UC Berkeley full-time as Assistant Professor in Physics and by courtesy EECS, and currently holds the Georgia Lee Chair in Physics.

Research Interests

Most practical phenomena, except those related to nuclear reactions, can be well described by atomic nuclei and electrons interacting with electromagnetic fields (photons) and gravity. The electromagnetic (EM) interaction becomes increasingly important at smaller length scales and dominates in the meso- and microscopic world.

We are interested in studying this EM interaction that involves condensed matter -- solids and liquids alike, in uncommon regimes. These include at length scales much smaller than the electromagnetic wavelengths, in systems where radiative decay dominates, and at unconventional frequencies like THz, mid-infrared and deep ultraviolet. These topics often lie at the interface between Photonics and Quantum Materials. Check out our lab website for more ideas.

We are particularly focused on developing new instruments and protocols that provide unique insights. To achieve this, we create and combine a wide range of techniques that span the broad spectral range between microwave (GHz, μeV) and ultraviolet (PHz, ~10 eV), in the form of electronics, optics, and scanning probe microscopy, and collaborate extensively.

We like to leverage the immense industrial progress in computation, imaging, lithography, wireless and telecommunication whenever possible. Combined with creativity and maker's spirit, this approach often allows us to carry out unique experiments with a tiny budget but more fun. Conversely, we always keep an eye out for potential applications in these fields, within academia and beyond.

We strive to build a team that is diverse in both background and level of expertise. Potential postdocs, graduate, and undergrad students can send me an email with your CV to start the conversation. Join us and be part of an exciting journey to build a state-of-the-art optics & optoelectronic lab from scratch!


M. Poudineh*, C. Maikawa*, E. Y. Ma, J. Pan, D. Mamerow, Y. Hang, S. Baker, S. Kim, E. Appel, J. Vuckovic, and Tom Soh, A fluorescence sandwich immunoassay for the real-time continuous detection of glucose and insulin in live animals, Nature Biomedical Engineering 5, 53 (2020)

E.  Y.  Ma,  L.  Waldecker,  D.  Rhodes,  K.  Watanabe,  T.  Taniguchi,  J.  Hone,  and  Tony  F.  Heinz, High-resolution optical micro-spectroscopy extending from the near-infrared to the vacuum-ultraviolet, Review of Scientific Instrument 91, 073107 (2020)

A. Y. Piggott*, E. Y. Ma*, L. Su*, G. H. Ahn, N. V. Sapra, D. J. F. Vercruysse, A. M. Netherton, A. S. P. Khope, J. E. Bowers, and J. Vuckvic, Inverse-designed photonics for semiconductor foundries, ACS Photonics 7, 569 (2020)

E. Y. Ma*, B. Guzelturk*, G. Li, L. Cao, Z.-X. Shen, A. M. Lindenberg, and T. F. Heinz, Recording interfacial  currents  on  the  subnanometer  length  and  femtosecond  time  scale  by  terahertz  emission, Science Advances 5, eaau0073 (2019)

C. Jin, E. Y. Ma, O. Karni, E. C. Regan, F. Wang, and T. F. Heinz, Ultrafast dynamics in van der Waals heterostructures, Nature Nanotechnology 13, 994 (2018)

Scott R. Johnston, E. Y. Ma, and Z.-X. Shen, Optically coupled methods for microwave impedance microscopy, Review of Scientific Instrument 89, 043703 (2018)

Y.-T. Cui*, E. Y. Ma* and Z.-X. Shen, Quartz tuning fork based microwave impedance microscopy, Review of Scientific Instrument 87, 063711 (2016)

E. Y. Ma*, Y.-T. Cui*, K. Ueda*, S. Tang, K. Chen, N. Tamura, P. M. Wu, J. Fujioka, Y. Tokura, and Z.-X. Shen, Mobile metallic domain walls in an all-in-all-out magnetic insulator, Science 350, 538 (2015)

E. Y. Ma, B. Bryant, Y. Tokunaga, G. Aeppli, Y. Tokura, and Z.-X. Shen, Charge-order domain walls with enhanced conductivity in a layered manganite, Nature Communications 6, 7595 (2015)

E. Y. Ma, et al., Unexpected edge conduction in mercury telluride quantum wells under broken time-reversal symmetry, Nature Communications 6, 7252 (2015)

Y. Yang, E. Y. Ma, Y. T. Cui, A. Haemmerli, K. Lai, W. Kundhikanjana, N. Harjee, B. L. Pruitt, M. Kelly, and Z.-X. Shen, Shielded piezoresistive cantilever probes for nanoscale topography and electrical imaging, Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering 24, 045026 (2014)

X. L. Zhu, E. Y. Ma, J. S. Zhang, J. Xu, X. F. Wu, Y. Zhang, X. B. Han, Q. Fu, Z. M. Liao, L. Chen, and D. P. Yu, Confined three-dimensional plasmon modes inside a ring-shaped nanocavity on a silver film imaged by cathodoluminescence microscopy, Physical Review Letters 105, 127402 (2010)

Click here for a complete list of publications.